Kevin Durant's decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors and form one of the greatest collections of talent in NBA history stunned the league – and also earned him a sharp rebuke from some corners of the Internet.
Durant now joins Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson with Golden State, a team that just fell one game short of a second straight NBA championship after winning a record 73 games in the regular season. In doing so, Durant walks away from the challenge of trying to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a title roughly only a little more than a month after blowing a 3-1 lead to lose to the Warriors in the Western Conference finals. He will sign a two-year, $54 million contract with Golden State that gives him the opportunity to re-enter the free-agent market after this upcoming season.
James' decision led him to two championships in Miami. When James opted to return to Cleveland two summers ago, Durant applauded the move.
"That was pretty cool," Durant told reporters. "It's funny seeing guys think about more than just basketball for once. He thought about the city where he comes from, about Northeast Ohio and how he can affect so many of the kids just being there playing basketball. I love that. So many guys get criticized for making the decision that's best for them, instead of what's best for everybody else. He's a guy that did that. You gotta respect that."
In that same conversation in 2014, Durant also gave a hint of what would guide his own monumental, league-changing decision.
"I'm going to do what's best for me."