OKC Thunder: Durant chose a ring over loyalty; Giannis captured both

Giannis Antetokounmpo & Kevin Durant. All Star Game Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Giannis Antetokounmpo & Kevin Durant. All Star Game Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /
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OKC Thunder
Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee Bucks. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder: Loyalty in a small market proves rewarding

There is no set path to achieve the highest pinnacle in the NBA. Players like Kobe Bryant never thought of the idea to switch teams when it was convenient.

Imagine a scenario where we saw the ‘Black Mamba’ jump ship to the Boston Celtics after the 2008 finals. At the time, that would have been unheard of around the league. To top it off, the Lakers went on to win the 2009 NBA finals. How sweet a feeling that must have been for Kobe and the rest of Laker Nation to watch Bryant come back and beat the Celtics the following year.

What if Kevin Durant would have done the same after the 2016 Western Conference Finals and OKC went on to win a championship in 2017?  Then, there are no more “what if” scenarios plaguing the franchise.

I bring up these two players to draw a distinct comparison because Kobe Bryant’s legacy is unmatched in NBA history. He was larger than life, a superstar who won with the same team for over 20 years. That undoubtedly makes his legacy that much more authentic and genuine.

A few years before Bryant passed away, he issued a few challenges to Giannis, and the first one was achieving the MVP award.

Giannis was able to capture this award, so Bryant offered another challenge:


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Giannis completed both challenges and, in my opinion, is the only player left in today’s NBA that resembles the late Kobe Bryant, even if it is a slight resemblance.

I bring the following statement up because fans will never forget the loyalty, the grind to fail one year and come back harder the next year, that never give up mentality, or should I say that “Mamba Mentality.”

These are all the accolades Durant will be missing when the final chapter closes on his career. Giannis chose the more challenging route, and KD took the path of least resistance, but at what cost?

Whatever the cost may be, Thunder fans will be asking themselves “what if” for quite some time.

Giannis bringing a championship to Milwaukee feels like a significant consolation prize for all the small market cities around the league, especially OKC.

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