Larry Bird couldn't imagine joining forces with Magic Johnson
Add Larry Bird to the list of legends with an opposing view of Kevin Durant's move to the powerhouse Golden State Warriors. In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Larry Legend said he couldn't imagine joining his rivals during his playing career, specifically joining Earvin Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers.
"I know back in the day, I couldn't imagine going to the Lakers and playing with Magic Johnson. I'd rather try to beat him," Bird said. "I could never imagine myself going and joining another team with great players, because I had great players and I was in a great situation."
Without question, at least heading into next year, had Durant returned to Oklahoma City, he would have been in a great situation. He would have been with great players; chief among them, Russell Westbrook. But the situation and circumstances between Bird's time in Boston, Johnson's time in Los Angeles, or even Jordan's time in Chicago are all different from Durant's time with the Thunder.
From the moment Magic and Bird were in the NBA, their respective teams were championship-good, as they each earned rings within the first two years in the league. While Jordan had to wait seven years before tasting championship gold, he was not surrounded with much talent early in his career. It wasn't until his fourth year that Jordan won a playoff series. From that first round playoff win over Cleveland in 1988, the Bulls needed three years as a legit title contender to reach the mountain top.
Durant's journey to that elusive first ring has had more "close, but no cigar" moments than the Jordan, Magic and Bird had combined. Starting with an Western Conference Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, Durant and the Thunder have been among the favorites, if not the favorite to be standing tall in mid-June.
In the six contending years that he has failed to win a title, Durant certainly deserves a very small degree of the blame as a star's influence in the sport of basketball is disproportionate compared to the other three major North American sports.
But simply saying Durant is weak for joining Stephen Curry and the Warriors ignores that basketball is still a team game and the other pieces matter. Coaching matters as does teammates and injuries. To simply put the Thunder's failure to win a title on Durant or to say Durant took the easy way out ignores the context behind those failures.
Six years is enough time to realize it likely wasn't going to happen there. Instead of the legends telling us how they would've done it, I wish more would embraced the beautiful basketball that will soon be played by the Bay.
Because while I understand it was a different time, their situations compared to KD's weren't the same.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
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