- The Warriors were named “Franchise of the Decade.”
- Absent from their video celebrating the honor is Kevin Durant.
- It’s a slap in the face to a player who propelled Golden State to unprecedented success.
The Golden State Warriors were crowned “Franchise of the Decade” by Sports Business Journal on Monday, beating out teams across all professional sports for the honor.
The Warriors’ turnaround from laughing stock to NBA gold standard was stunning, and it wouldn’t have been possible without every marquee player, coach, and front office executive who proved so instrumental to their success.
Don’t tell that to Golden State, though, which made the pointed decision to leave Kevin Durant out of the video celebrating their accolade.
The Warriors Rewrite NBA History
Durant proved just as valuable as anticipated when he rocked the NBA by signing with Golden State in the summer of 2016.
He won the next two Finals MVP trophies by going toe-to-toe with LeBron James on the game’s biggest stage, putting up monster numbers as the Warriors easily dispatched the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017 and 2018.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr famously said in the wake of the 2017 Finals that Durant, not Stephen Curry, was basketball’s second-best player behind James. He went a step further last spring as Durant dominated the LA Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, calling him “the best player in the world.”
If Durant’s devastating playoff romp last season wasn’t ended prematurely by injury, the Warriors very likely would have become just the second team ever to win four championships in five seasons – and Durant only the third player ever to win Finals MVP three straight times.
Golden State’s wholly unique offensive identity revolved around Curry, and Draymond Green was the team’s emotional heartbeat. But Kevin Durant was the Warriors’ best player when it mattered most, and it wasn’t particularly close.