However, let’s not forget that he jumped on their bandwagon to accomplish all of that.
Golden State had already won a championship without KD. It likely would have continued competing for titles had he not moved to The Bay. He simply just helped put the team over the top talent-wise.
It didn’t need him by any means.
Despite that fact, though, Durant still absurdly believes the Warriors should retire his jersey.
Kevin Durant won two titles with the Warriors
For a quick refresher (although you likely don’t need it), Kevin Durant was one of the NBA’s best players during the three years he spent with Stephen Curry and the Warriors from 2017–2019.
He averaged 25.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.4 assists, and he earned three All-Star selections.
However, KD took his play up a notch in the playoffs.
Durant averaged 29.6 points and 7.1 rebounds during his three postseason runs in The Bay. And he helped the Warriors get revenge on the Cleveland Cavaliers, who beat them in the 2016 Finals. The 2007-08 Rookie of the Year averaged 35.2 points and 8.2 rebounds in the 2017 championship series win over Cleveland before recording 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game in 2018 against the Cavs.
It led to him winning his only two championships and Finals MVPs during those two seasons.
Durant and the Warriors went back to the Finals in 2019, but an Achilles injury cut his series short. After another injury to Klay Thompson, Golden State eventually fell to the Toronto Raptors in six games.
KD then left the team and signed with the Brooklyn Nets that next offseason.
Kevin Durant thinks the Thunder and Warriors should retire his jerseys
Before going to the Warriors, Kevin Durant had an epic career with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He won four scoring titles and a league MVP, and he reached four conference finals and one NBA Finals.
But his departure to Golden State somewhat tarnished his iconic OKC legacy. Durant’s decision to then leave the Warriors a few years later also left their fans frustrated.
However, he still thinks highly of those places.
“Every one of these places I played is my home,” Durant said to The Ringer’s Logan Murdock. “I can imagine me when I’m done, and I don’t think any one of these franchises would be like, ‘No, K, what you did here is not a part of our history.’ I’m going to be a Hall of Famer when I’m done, one of the greatest to ever play. If you don’t want me to be a part of your program when I’m done playing, then that’s personal.”
KD then added that he thinks both the Thunder and Warriors should retire his jerseys.
“OKC has to retire my jersey,” he said. “It wouldn’t even be good for the game of basketball if they didn’t. The same with Golden State. I’m still doing what I’m doing here in Brooklyn, but if I continue on what I’m doing four or five years, then I’ll feel the same way about this program. I better have a home. Because I feel like I am basketball. I breathe it. This is my DNA. I put in the time and respect and love for each one of these programs on and off the floor to get that type of recognition. If I don’t do it, then it’s personal.”
Should the Warriors really retire KD’s jersey?
For what it’s worth, Warriors co-chairman Joe Lacob said no one would wear Durant’s No. 35 jersey as long as he is in Golden State. But the team hasn’t officially retired his number yet.
Should it, though?
Durant is correct about the Thunder. He was there when the franchise moved to Oklahoma City from Seattle, and he helped put the team on the map. He also spent nearly a decade with it in which he became one of the NBA’s greatest players.
His Warriors tenure, though, is more complicated.
Durant didn’t necessarily lead them to two championships and three Finals appearances. He just made their paths a lot easier.
Golden State had already reached two consecutive Finals and won the 2015 championship before Durant’s signing with the team in the summer of 2016. It also won an NBA record 73 games the year before he jumped on their bandwagon.
In addition to the team’s success prior to KD’s arrival, he also wasn’t there very long.
Suppose the 12-time All-Star had joined the Warriors and then spent the next six or seven seasons with the team; that would have likely been enough to get his jersey retired. But he was only there for three short years.
Golden State has retired six jerseys, and all of those players were on the Warriors for at least six seasons.
Are three years really enough to put Durant up there with players who gave the Warriors several (some 10 or more)? Probably not.
Kevin Durant had an incredible three-year run with the Warriors. But his legacy with the team is complicated, to say the least.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference