Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett felt that NBA star Kevin Durant betrayed the love and support his city has given him when he decided to move on and play for the Golden State Warriors next season.
Cornett stated that Durant deceived them into thinking that his heart was real with Oklahoma City and with the team, the Thunder. Back in 2007, the Seattle Supersonics were going into a transition when they selected Durant as the second overall pick in the NBA Draft. Durant was then part of the core of the squad when it decided to move to Oklahoma the following year, thus earning the moniker Thunder. The Mayor added that for Durant to join a “superstar” laden team is something that he could not make sense of.
The Oklahoma City Mayor stated with ESPN Radio’s Capital Games podcast that Durant should have stayed as they could make another run for the title next season. The mayor added that Durant’s move signified that he fooled the people of Oklahoma City as he was just waiting for the right time to jump ship and leave them for his pursuit of a championship ring.
“He meant so much in ways it’s impossible to quantify. If you were a CEO in OKC and you were hiring from the East or West Coast 10 years ago, you might have said Oklahoma City isn’t culturally relevant. His image has changed drastically than it was last week because of his decision to join a team of superstars in the NBA. You can’t get that back. From the basketball side of it, I don’t believe Kevin is going to have the impact on the Warriors that he did on the Thunder. The Thunder could have won next year’s championship. But I never got the sense — and I can’t imagine he fooled us for nine years — that he wanted to leave Oklahoma City,” Cornett said.
The 57-year-old Mayor is sending a message of plea to Westbrook to reconsider his plans of going into free agency next year. Cornett added that Oklahoma City can rebound from losing Durant this year if Westbrook would stay and be the face of the franchise and of the city in the NBA.
“If the Thunder build a team around Russell Westbrook, they could easily do so,” Cornett said.”But Russell has to buy into that. I don’t know if Russell is interested in being the figurehead of the franchise. If Russell were to choose to stay in Oklahoma City — and in the wake of Kevin’s departure — he would be a larger icon than ever before.”
After being drafted, Durant immediately made his presence felt as he would go on to be named as the NBA Rookie of the Year. As the team relocated to Oklahoma City, the Thunder would then added ULA’s Russell Westbrook and two would team up to be one of the solid dynamic duo in the league.
It was also at that time that Durant became a strong contender for the Most Improved Player of the Year award. However, it was in 2014 when Durant climbed to the stellar of his career when he was named MVP, a feat he would not accomplish without the solid assistance from Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder. He would also be named to the NBA All-Star team seven times and was an All-Star MVP in 2012. But the one lacking in his long list of credentials was a championship ring.
Durant and the Thunder were close to achieving that this season when they went ahead against the Warriors 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals but was not able to do so. The Warriors would eventually climb back and beat them 4-3, ending Durant’s aim for a championship ring as well.
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett joins his constituents as they move on from losing a player who was described as an ambassador of goodwill for the city. July 4 will always be remembered by Oklahoma City and Cornett not only as the Nation’s Independence Day but as the day they were fooled and spurned by an NBA star in Kevin Durant.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr