Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors, and Billionaire Brain
The Warriors suspending Draymond Green for his spat with KD shows a willingness to sacrifice all at the altar of more, more, MORE.
Photo by David Maxwell/EPA-EFE
Draymond Green called Kevin Durant a "bitch" and got suspended one game for it. He said some other shit too, shit that apparently cut pretty deep, and questioned whether Durant was really committed to the squad in light of his pending free agency. It all seems pretty ill-advised, from a getting-along-with-your-co-worker-and-fellow-man perspective, but it also seems pretty standard, as far as most locker room shit is concerned. And yet the team, in publicly fining and suspending Draymond for calling Durant a "bitch," is making a one day controversy last a few extra days, simply by dint of deciding that Draymond Must Be Stopped.
As a pure PR move, it's total nonsense. There were private channels available for dealing with this, and the Warriors opted not to take them. Which means that the team isn’t taking any chances in letting everyone know how they feel: that suspending Draymond is acceptable, if it means that Durant’s needs are being addressed. One dude is more important than the other, and we will be proceeding as if that is the case.
In one respect, it makes sense: KD is a world beater. But here's the flip side: the Warriors would be contenders without his services. They won 73 Games without him, for God’s sake. Klay Thompson would still be running around screens, Draymond would still be swarming opponents’ pick and rolls, and Steph Curry would still be a generational offensive talent. Andre Iguodala would probably need to be replaced and the back end of the roster could use a little tightening up, but assuming they could and would pull that off with the massive hole losing Durant’s contract would make on their cap sheet, a Durant-less Warriors team would still be title favorites, or something very close to that.
But they wouldn’t be fucking unstoppable. They wouldn’t be the powerful killer of the league, Goku wandering into towns on the countryside and bumslaying NBA teams night after night like they’re petty bandits, a collection of talent that is so far ahead of the rest of the league that everyone else throws up their hands and just kind of plays for second place. They would be back in the shit, adjusting their rotation for extra wins, sweating details and hoping no one got injured, lest they be cursed with a five seed and a brutal matchup against the Nuggets or whatever. The whole of basketball would no longer seem rigged in their favor. You can win without the rest of Durant’s prime, but you can’t get so far ahead that you’re all-but-unstoppable.
The Warriors are now infected with Billionaire Brain.
Yesterday, Amazon announced that Long Island City, Queens, and Northern Virginia, would be the new sites for the megalith’s new corporate campuses. Amazon has mutated Seattle into a place that’s nearly impossible to live in without a significant personal windfall, and its effect on Queens, not exactly affordable already, will be insane. The tax incentives the company is receiving are out of control, $1.7 Billion in tax incentives the company will use to build helipads for Jeff Bezos and buildings where its employees can lose their fucking minds or piss in bottles to avoid knuckle rappings.
Why does Amazon feel like they have to do this? There are all kinds of little towns they could have invaded, create a company city where they can do whatever they want mostly consequence free. But instead, they held a months long public contest where cities and states debased themselves offering more and more extravagant tax breaks, and then picked the city where they could do the most immediate harm to everyone that currently lives there.
The answer is: Billionaire Brain. Jeff Bezos, already the richest person in the world, worth 100 Billion goddamn dollars, is not satisfied with owning a space-dominating corporation that exploits workers and tries to undercut every other company in the world so they can’t fucking compete and also places hot mics in the houses of as many people as it possibly can to leech as much information as it possibly can. He needs more. The only constant in his whole miserable life is the pursuit of more.
The Warriors front officer and management are infected with this same brain disease, a craving for more that is fundamentally unquenchable. It is not enough to win with Draymond, a dude who has been there from the start and gives you a fabulous defense while contributing to a ball-moving, fast paced offense. It isn’t enough to sit him aside and tell him to lay off Durant—we’re trying to fucking re-sign him, dude, do it in private and let it blow over.
No, the only the only recourse—if you’re looking to put together a squad that will be nigh unstoppable—is to make sure you can hold on to Durant totally and completely. There can’t be any moderation in your approach. It doesn’t matter if Draymond is irritable, or the locker room isn’t sure how to feel. KD is what makes more not only possible, but probable. The Billionaire Brain craves stacking the deck in its favor, and with Durant, the Golden State Warriors are virtual locks to bend the league to their will.
But… why? Why do they Warriors feel like they need to BE that? Contending year after year isn’t enough? Most other teams would die for that opportunity, but here’s the Warriors, putting that baseline existence at risk so they can be something more dominating, more inevitable than that. No one needs to win that much. They’ve reached the apex of achievement in the league, and found their craving only expanded.
Thankfully for novelty-seeking NBA Fans, this unstoppable manifestation of Golden State will break apart, eventually. It might be next year, when Durant goes and does something else. It might be in three years, when the team's knees start to give out. But it’s coming. The truth of sports is the truth of human bodies being born and built and breaking apart and dying and rotting. Would that the same truth applied to the corporate beasts that mount the world and take them for every last cent they can squirrel out of the ground. It would be a better world.