Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Let's face it, when it comes to saying good-bye, athletes and coaches usually screw
things up. Badly. They'll try to tell us their exits is not about the money when it clearly is.
They often bring in the 'ole, "I'm doing what's best for my family" when it's clearly about
them and them alone.

No matter what the case or what sounds good, these people in the sports world always
seemed to go off the rails and end up in what big train wreck.

Remember when LeBron James announced on national television he was taking his
talents to Miami in 2010? It was hello, Heat, good-bye, Cleveland.

Yep, that was LeBron's way of telling all those die-hard, never-been-a-winner in
anything fans that he was bolting them for much greener pastures, literally and
figuratively. Buckets of cash and the beaches of Miami over the Lake effect snow
on Northern Ohio.

Then there was Todd Graham who, while at 30,000 feet and on his way to paradise
in the desert, texted his players at the University of Pittsburgh that he was taking a cushy
job with great weather at Arizona State. That was cold. Hey, at least he didn't punctuate
the text with an "LOL."

Kevin Durant added to the long list of lame good-byes by announcing on "The Players
Tribune" where he just happens to be the "deputy publisher" (Yes, I'm serious) that he
was signing with Golden State as a free-agent, jilting the fans, city, and organization that
supported him for many years.

Durant earned his "free" agency after nine years in the NBA playing for Oklahoma City
a place many Americans would have trouble finding on the map. He had the right to
choose where he wanted to continue his career and I'm cool with that. Who the hell are
we to begrudge a guy for following his heart, the money, and pursue an overall better
quality of life?

Let's not kid ourselves, we'd probably do the same thing. It's just the American way.

However, the rhetoric that Durant splattered all over "The Players Tribune", is almost
as laughable as LeBron's "taking his talents to Miami" mantra he made on live television
years ago. Within minutes of its release, Frank Caliendo, the great comedian and
impersonator posted a laugh out loud video on-line, mocking Durant's prose.

Durant told the Internet world which has a propensity to believe everything it sees and
hears that part of his decision to sign with Golden State and leave OKC in his rear-view
mirror was "the importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a
man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest
potential for my contribution and personal growth."

Really, KD? Your "evolution as a man?"

Moving somewhere else to chase what you've never had (NBA title) doesn't make you
more of a man, but less of one. To leave a city, fans, teammates, and organization that you
brought to the brink of greatness is weak. A strong man would've stayed to finish the
job instead of joining a team, Golden State, that stood between you and a shot at the NBA championship.

Your "evolution of a man" would've been much more meaningful had you stayed loyal
to the organization that drafted you and the fans who adored you through thick and thin.
Taking the easy way out is nowhere to found in the "evolution of a man". Digging in when
the going gets tough and the chips are down is far more part of the "evolution of a man"
than joining a team of stars that has NBA championship and record for most wins in a
season without you.

Do you become more of a man by bailing on everybody to pursue your own personal
glory? Do you become more of a man just because you have a big gaudy ring to put
on your finger?

What's even more comical, is that you'll have a different reason and story for leaving
Golden State after next year when you have a chance to cash in like never before. The
salary-cap goes up and Kevin, you'll have to back up the Brinks truck to move all that
cash that may help your "evolution as a man."

If it was about anything else than getting a ring and even more cash, you would've
signed a long-term deal with Golden State. Not one with the opportunity to escape after
just one season. You believe that almighty ring will enhance your legacy and make you
even more marketable (meaning more bling) and more coveted.

I'm sure you'll be putting on your "deputy publisher's" hat again this time next year to
announce which team you'll be signing with. I'm just wondering what great reason it
will be now that your "evolution of a man" cop-out line has been used.

Kevin Durant, you have a long way to go to be a real man. But that's OK, it's a process
and "evolution." But leaving OKC is not the way to do it in your quest to be one.

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