With the Golden State Warriors, NBA superstar Kevin Durant achieved unparalleled success. He made three straight trips to the Finals, won two NBA Championships, and took home two Finals MVP trophies as he and his team dominated opponents on a nightly basis.
But after just three years, Durant left the team for an unproven roster in Brooklyn. And while there seems to have been a lot that went into that decision, Durant told us himself once that he always felt like an outsider with the Warriors.
Often, he and Curry were pitted up against each other by the community and it caused a lot of tension between them. On one particular instance, KD lost it with the media after taking exception to a piece written by The Athletic's Ethan Strauss. The Warriors forward accused Strauss of trying to "rile up" Curry fans by pointing out some of the sacrifices the team made for Durant. Strauss explained the whole situation in his book, The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty.
"I tried to make a few points, saying I didn't begrudge him for having leverage with his contract, and insisted that I had good reason to write what I wrote. KD wasn't impressed and accused me of trying to 'rile up Steph's fans.' He expressed that this was a constant theme in the Bay. All of us local guys just wanted to kiss Steph's ass at his expense. This was KD's consistent lament. He would frequently squabble in direct-message conversations with the Warriors fans of Twitter, frequently accusing them of favoring Steph at his expense. In one such exchange that foreshadowed things to come, he was asked by the WarriorsWorld account whether two-time MVP Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving was the better player. 'I gotta really sit down and analyze it,' Durant demurred."
Obviously the "Steph vs Durant" narrative was what ultimately dismantled the dynasty. Durant always felt that he was a visitor to the team -- he never felt appreciated.
It's what led him to Brooklyn and what will make his tenure there so different. He and Kyrie started something there -- whereas before he had joined a team that was already established in Golden State.
Hopefully, Durant will feel more at home in The Big Apple.