The next chapter

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Raffy Ledesma

Less than a year ago, Golden State

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Warriors’ superstar Kevin Durant became a villain of sorts despite his mild-mannered and professional demeanor. In July 2016, he made known his intentions to sign with the powerhouse Warriors in a piece titled “My Next Chapter,” leaving his former team Oklahoma City in a lurch and made enemies of not just his legion of Thunder fans but also his long-time running mate Russell Westbrook.

His “defection” was taken negatively by the public and was compared to LeBron James’ “The Decision” when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010. After all, a lot of people were put off when Durant, a former MVP, joined reigning MVP Steph Curry, to form a super team. He’s been called coward, cupcake, and many names, spelled with a “K” of course, but he has managed to shrug them off and keep his focus.

Fast-forward to today and Kevin Durant is on the cusp of winning his first NBA title. Despite battling injuries in the latter part of the season, Durant has come back strong and is playing like a man possessed. Recently, they swept their only serious rival, the San Antonio Spurs, and made history. The Warriors are the first team in the NBA to start the playoffs 12-0, sweeping their first three opponents. They may even become the first team in history to complete a perfect playoff record which would definitely trump their historic 73-9 regular season record last season.

The Warriors will now face their nemesis Cleveland Cavaliers for the third time in as many years. They definitely want to erase the stigma of blowing a 3-1 lead versus the Cavs, which negated their magical season in 2015-2016. Unlike their other foes, the Cavs are no pushovers since they have arguably the best player on the planet in LeBron James.

Recently, Durant expressed his intention to stay with the Warriors for the next season and take his US$27.7 million player option. He says that he has no regrets, win or lose and added, “I feel like this is the place I was supposed to be. I appreciate everything I’ve done before this. But I’m here now, and I feel like it’s a great spot for me to be.”

Durant has a score to settle with James. In his first and only Finals appearance before this, James and the Miami Heat took Oklahoma to school in 2012, winning the series in dominating fashion.

While Durant has downplayed a championship and said that winning one “won’t complete his life,” a title would definitely complete Durant’s professional career and add to his growing legacy. Durant has won the Rookie of the Year Award, four NBA scoring titles, Most Valuable Player Award, and two Olympic gold medals. He has also been selected to seven All-NBA teams and eight All-Star teams. The only thing is missing is a title.

Durant is indeed ready to write the next chapter of his life and has one more series to win so he can finally silence all his critics.

raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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