As a Thunder fan, it will be hard to keep this completely objective – but that’s why sports are sports, if you want objective go read an article about politics (oh, wait…).
Kevin Durant must play Lebron James in the NBA finals. Forget all your other story lines, forget that Kendrick Perkins could play his former team, or that Russell Westbrook is really just Dwayne Wade playing at the 1.
Forget that Kevin Durant has become a proven closer and that Lebron has become a proven choker (despite both having at times played the others role).
Just look at the match up. Two future Hall of Fame members. Two guys who could compete for being the best player of all time.
Now before you go all, “No one can touch MJ” on me let me assure you, I’m in that camp, but I’m in that camp for a reason that is slowly slipping from my grasp. No one has been able to touch MJ because no one has had as many big game opportunities. He has the statistics, he has game winning shots in the playoffs, he got the flu. But things like this happen because he had the opportunity. And I never thought anyone else would have the opportunities he did to cement a legacy potentially greater than Air Jordan. But then two guys came along, and neither of them is Kobe Bryant*.
Kevin Durant is the quintessential good guy. He would wear a white hat in a spaghetti western and his backpack gives him the aura of a cute little kid who walks out onto a stage and then belts out a song in a talent competition that makes everyone else concede. When he hugs his mom, mothers everywhere cry. When he walks into a gym to play pick up, he’s getting the game started and picks the kid least likely to be picked first before he’s even been declared captain because everyone knows he’s going to be a captain.
Lebron James is much more complicated. He’s like any of the villains in a Spiderman movie and nothing like the villains in a Nolan-made Batman movie. He has all these emotional layers and it really muddles who we perceive him to be. As an audience, we need simple. We need The Joker, not the Green Goblin. Unfortunately Lebron started off as Spiderman and then decided he wanted James Franco’s lines. And now that he’s muddled in this “am I the good guy or the bad guy?” phase for much too long, no one really likes him. But after watching his Game 6 performance where you couldn’t tell if he even enjoyed playing in it, it’s obvious he’s ready to become Darth Vader. A bad guy so bad that you have to like him. The 45 points he dropped was the equivalent of saying, “Never underestimate the power of the force” while choking out Hondo and KJ.
This is the Lebron we wanted to see. If he had said, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach” and then become ruthless, then we wouldn’t have had to deal with all this drama of likeability, PR and other failed attempts to reach out yet still remain selfish. If I could say one thing to the guy, I’d say “Just be selfish man, embrace your role as all that is evil about professional sports and we’ll be forced to like you even though we hate you.” Make that your brand, and we’ll all come along. And now it seems (and we’ll know fully after game 7 against the Celtics) that he has shown that it is time.
So why would anyone not want to see KD take on Lebron? This is what we want as basketball fans. We want Kevin Durant and Lebron James entangled in a game 7 destined to be replayed on ESPN classic once a week for the rest of time. And we want it to happen every year. These two have been pitted against each other by destiny. Lebron seems invincible, he’s a prototype. KD has his weaknesses but makes up for them with his confidence, savvy and the mastery of a single skill (the purest of shots). You couldn’t script this any better. If we don’t watch NBA finals series where Lebron James and Kevin Durant trade buckets for the next decade, we will have missed out on what could be the best rivalry to ever exist in sports.
And as a Thunder fan, as much as I would hate to see Lebron take a ring at any point in the future away from KD, it would make me love to hate him all the more – but that’s what would make him compelling. I would pull so hard for the Heat all of the proceeding year so that they could have home court advantage the next time they battled, and KD could come back and take what was rightfully his on Lebron’s home court.
We need KD vs. Lebron so that we can stop talking #hoopideas, stop worrying about bizarre nba conspiracy theories and so we can instead be captivated by good vs. evil.
*Kobe Bryant is what Lebron should become. He just had nobody to be the good guy.
I took my GoPro. I threw it up in the air repeatedly on a few different days/times of day. Layered colors and other GoPro footage. Added Doorways by Radical Face to the background. And this is the result.
You actually can learn a lot about color this way, and I think I have a number of filters to use later as a result of this short. But the goal was to make you to feel disoriented in watching it, and I actually like the Vimeo upload quality a little better than what I have on my computer because the graininess and pixelation that happens from time to time with all of the motion blur going on adds to the effect. So hit play, let it load so that you can watch it all the way through without interruption, then go full screen and get close – if you don’t feel a little disoriented after this, I didn’t do it right.
p.s. Thunder Up!