It’s important to give credit to people who exceed your expectations, even if your expectation of them is nothing. Enter the Golden State Warriors:
I’m starting to like an aspect of the Golden State Warriors now. I’m not sure how I feel about it. This is especially confusing because I am 100 percent rooting for the Toronto Raptors. Add to that an additional 100 percent because my fiancee is really rooting for the Raptors. So that makes it 200 percent, which is really high. As it is for anyone, it is my duty as a person who loves their future wife and loves themselves to root for Toronto. I don’t make the rules. Yes, I do.
There are a lot of people in the world, and many of them have opinions. I am one of those people. Among that subset of people, there are those who think that KD joining the Warriors made them less enjoyable. I am one of those people too.
For some, it’s because the team’s style of play became significantly less enjoyable. I agree with that idea. Before the ball would fly all around like FWOOSH and sometimes ZOOM and then the ball would go in. Not only that, they backed up the offensive spectacle with tremendous defense. On both sides of the floor, they were the best nightmare you could have.
Then KD joined and it was different but in the bad kind of way. The fwooshing and zooming did still happen, but then KD would get the ball and a lot of the time it would stop. KD on his own is a delight, but in the flow of the Warriors’ offense, he’s kind of a buzzkill. The Warriors largely being considered more entertaining since KD went down is a good indicator of this.
The people take umbrage with a shift in style of play are split into two separate groups: those who actually believe it and those who pretend to believe it because it’s either in poor taste or embarrassing to simply say they’re tired of the Warriors winning.
I’m in neither of those two groups. I am tired of the Warriors winning. While I miss the style of play that made me first fall in love with the Warriors, that’s just kind of whatever to me at this point. I’ve become bored with the feeling that the Warriors are basically unbeatable. It’s bad, and it’s stupid, and I hate it.
This aching inevitability kind of became their identity in my mind. Players I used to like became gears in a death machine that was slowly heading my direction from the Bay Area over the course of eight months. I knew one day in June it was going to come into my apartment and blast me with a very big laser.
I’ve become acquainted with this feeling over the years. It’s not pleasant, but that’s life sometimes. Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear is a death machine with a very big laser.
So now that I’m at peace, I’ve been able to look at things a little bit differently. On behalf of the Raptors, what is the possibility I’m most excited about in this series? In every previous round, it was the win. Winning the first round calmed my nerves. Winning the second round was the heroic buzzer beater. Winning the Eastern Conference Finals meant the Raptors overcoming possibly the best player in the league and finally taking that step long-elusive trip to the finals.
But this series is different. I think about the Raptors maybe winning the NBA finals, and I get excited. It’s really cool. I will celebrate at the aforementioned 200 percent level.
But I’m realizing that over 50 percent of that 200 percent is not the championship itself, it’s the idea of the Raptors being the team to beat the Kevin Durant Era Warriors. That accomplishment seems a greater trial than getting the Larry O’Brien trophy. I mean, even Ohio has an NBA Championship. But how many teams can say they’ve dismantled a death machine? Especially one whose laser is so big?
So I’m now starting to appreciate this aspect of the Warriors. In retrospect, the same quality that seemed so inexorable and depressing for so long gains value to me because a hero, my hero, might be the one to stop them.
I’ve reached a level of excitement that I could not have achieved otherwise had the Warriors not gotten KD. I find myself only watching the play in short bursts because my eyes can’t take staring at the sun for too long. In the last game, I had to block out the bottom of the screen because knowing the score was too much knowledge for me to handle. This is how I experience joy – very painfully. I have to thank the Warriors because I am so much more invested in the Raptors now than I’ve ever been before.
And if they lose I’ll die.