I’m a true believer that in order to be a NBA champion, you have to be a bit of a jerk. I’d even argue that you can’t be nice at all (on the court, of course).
Has Kevin Durant finally realized that and is decidedly stepping up his ‘mean’? If their game against the Nets is any indication, yes!
This was clearly a frustrating game for a normally efficient OKC team. They couldn’t get in rhythm the entire first half, they had silly turnovers and they couldn’t buy a bucket. However, they’ve played way more frustrating games than this one (see. Game 2-5 of the 2012 NBA Finals), yet star play Kevin Durant received two technical fouls, which resulted in him being ejected from the game late in the 4th.
Why now? It’s not like it was a bad call because Perkins graciously inserted his entire forearm in Gerald Wallace’s throat. So what was so different about this game that made KD, who’s customarily known to have an attitude as bad-ass as Mr. Rogers, go over the edge?
He’s probably tired of losing. Tired of being the best but being overlooked (see. 2012 NBA MVP). Tired of being right on the cusp of a ring and losing. Tired of everyone not playing up to his level. Tired of getting shafted by shady teammates who have other agendas. Tired of being so damn nice.
Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above.
I’ve always said that KD is easily the best natural scorer in the NBA. He’s also one of the most passionate, always works hard, takes his career and position as a role model seriously- he’s a good dude. He’s so much of a good dude that he’s also easily the player most likely to be everyone’s best man in their wedding because he’s so cool with everyone. Is that bad? Definitely not off the court- on the court is a different story.
If we look back act all of the greatest players and champions in the world, they all mostly have a tendency to play with a mean streak. If it isn’t on all of the time, they’ll turn it on when need be.
Magic Johnson– let someone not be playing up to his level, he would have them subbed out the game. Didn’t even want to look at them or hear them speak.
MJ– constantly cussed out teammates, refs, coaches. MJ even got in a few fights.
Larry Bird– also made people sit down, got in fights, cussed. Possibly one of the best trash talkers of all time.
Dr. J, Bob Cousy, Wilt Chamberlain, Dolph Schayes, Oscar Robinson, Karl Malone- NOT ONE of these guys were considered “nice guys” on the court.
– There were very few friendly laughs and giggles at the free throw line. There was trash talking and debasing.
– There was no working out with players from other teams during the offseason (except Olympic teams). Why would anyone give someone else the advantage of studying their mechanisms?
– There was no going out to dinner or partying with the other team after games.
– There was no “good shot”, “good move” directed at anyone other than someone in a matching jersey.
– There were no friends during the season. The only friends were or your team and they were barely friends.
– Everyone got techs or ejected on occasion because sometimes things just didn’t go right and frustrations boiled over.
Needless to say, I doubt KD has done a complete 180 and fully adopted the mentality of many of the greatest players of all time. But, after watching him last night, I’d say he has taken a step in the right direction. As the best player of the court (of OKC and the Nets), his team was playing so terribly that if he wouldn’t have gotten at least one tech, that would have meant he was out of touch with the game.
The day he decides to turn his ‘MJ’, ‘Bird’ or ‘Oscar’ all the way on 1000%, is the day he will win his first title.