By Jose Castillo, news staff
Social theorist Karl Marx wrote that prevalent capitalist societies would crumble at the hands of the disgruntled working class after decades of inequality. Of course, Marx probably never would have predicted that the onset of this revolution would perhaps find its roots in the massive horde of upset NBA fans and players who took to social media to express how they have been “hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray,” or any other words an angry Stephen A. Smith would use in this situation. I am of course talking about Kevin Durant’s unprecedented move to the already-strong Golden State Warriors, leaving Oklahoma City Thunder fans in a state of distress that only a Seattle Supersonics fan could understand.
Unlike other fans who have given up on the league all together, I, for one, am extremely excited by this move, as it brings to light two aspects of the game that have somehow become taboo to discuss: The triviality of team loyalty and the intricacies of competitive sports.
In Kevin Durant’s “My Next Chapter” article on The Players’ Tribune website, in which he announced his big move, the seven-time all star thanked the people of Oklahoma City for “truly raising him,” which may have come off more as a stab in back instead a heartfelt acknowledgement. No amount of pandering would be able to extinguish the burning jerseys sitting in the driveways of OKC, but to those who took to these extremes, I have two questions. First, why not just send those jerseys my way, and second, what does Durant really owe the the Thunder? In fact, what do you as a Thunder fan owe the Thunder?
Just like religious affiliation and what you call carbonated beverages (it’s called coke, all of it), you probably root for your team because of where you were born. You grew up rooting for that same team all your life, and you’ll even be that one jerk cheering for them in a different city when you move. While your emotions and general mood coincide with how well your team is doing, in the end, your loyalty is arbitrary, and franchises, which are business entities with business values, are able to disregard you and move if another city outdoes your city and channels more school funds into building a nicer stadium.
So, if your loyalty as a lifetime fan is trivial, why should a player – who doesn’t get to choose which team he is drafted by and sometimes which team he is traded to – be held to any sort of allegiance? In fact, I am appalled that this is even an issue when in this same free agency, once chosen one Derrick Rose was sent to the Knicks, evidence of when a team isn’t so “loyal” to its players.
However, KD’s move also upset many of those outside of OKC, as they pout that the move is “unfair,” and fear that next season’s competition will be lacking. To them, I ask, “Would you say the same if this was your team?”
Fans fearing a monopolization of Finals victories are viewing this trade in a vacuum, ignoring the history of the league, as well as sports and competition in general. There have been stacked teams in the NBA plenty of times, and a championship season has never been guaranteed. Also, why do we now celebrate dynasties that dominated decades, such as the Bulls or Lakers, while still acknowledging the immense talent across the league at those times, yet are nervous that a KD move would guarantee dull play? This is true competition.
The idea that a team should never be this stacked is questionable. Why do fans ask each other what their “ideal five” would be? Why were we so excited to see last year’s Warriors break the regular season record? It’s because we want to see teams dominate, as it adds dimensions to the game. The Golden State Warriors’ upcoming season can go either two ways: They win as expected, making fans witness to the greatness of a one-in-a-lifetime line up, or fail and become the laughing stock of leagues for decades to come. Either way, a season that promises that is a season much anticipated. If anything, however, fans shouldn’t worry, as they’ll probably lose to the Seth Curry, Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes line up my Mavs will sport when they meet in the conference finals. You tell ‘em you heard it here first, from Dallas’s own Bill Simmons – unless that makes me Skip Bayless.