‘Unselfishness’ is the other winner in NBA Championship swept by the Golden State Warriors

By Ludy Astraquillo Ongkeko, Ph.D.

There was not much usage of the “I” pronoun from the ranks of the Golden State Warriors when they swept the Cleveland Cavaliers on June 8 in four games at the close of the much-awaited finale of the National Basketball Association (NBA) that took place on the Cavaliers’ home grounds.

Some basketball watchers and the sports media remember when Steve Kerr, the Golden State Warriors’ coach started unknowingly on how the unselfishness of his team in 2016 led to the talks on the possibility of acquiring a well-known basketball star.

Kevin Durant was bruited about as one who was in “free agency,” and who expressed his wish to join a team that aimed for the championship. He did not hesitate in mentioning his assessment of the Warriors.

Subsequently, Durant joined the Warriors who gave him a tremendous welcome. Durant won the MVP 2017 award that very season in his first year as a Warrior. He won same award when the Warriors won the championship in the 2018 Finals, their third win in four years.

A brief lesson on how MVP judging is made: Seven of the 11 Finals’ MVP voters, most of whom belong to the national media, chose Durant; the other four votes went to Steph Curry, who has been with the Warriors since 2009.

Curry was asked by the media how he reacted to the Durant acclaim.

“I can go in the locker room right now and look at every one of my team mates in the face and have that sense of pride of what I was able to do out there on the floor and how I can help my team win in a championship. That’s all that matters to me,” was Curry’s reply.

Still referring to the awards conferred on Durant, Curry continued to state unabashedly, “K.D.’s been able to remain in this unbeatable super team.”

Their expiration date might come eventually, likely, as a casualty of rising salaries, but so far they have avoided the pitfall that can rip apart championship teams — a fight for individual glory disrupting harmony.

“We all want something bigger than ourselves,” was Durant’s response to the query about his achievements as a Warrior. “I think we love to come together and figure stuff out on the basketball court.”

No argument for either player, Durant or Curry was ever made emphatic by their team mates. Durant dominated Game 3 as he scored 43 points. Described by sports’ reports, “that number of points meant delivering the dagger to the Cavaliers.” After Durant’s 3-pointer, the key determinant that won that same Game 3, Curry rushed toward Durant, screaming with delight.

In Games 1, 2, 4, Durant finished with a triple double which came to a total of 72 points, as he made the series-clincher.

Curry set a Finals record with nine three-pointers in Game 2. He didn’t shoot well in Game 3. He made seven threes in Game 4 and scored 37 points.

Javale McGee, a team member, a Center, said of Durant and Curry: “The fact that I’m being a part of four All-Stars is unheard of. Being behind the scenes and seeing how unselfish these guys are, is amazing. I’m just so happy I got to be part of two back-to-back championships with four All-Stars who are unselfish as they are.”

Year 2018’s Finals could have been described “easy,” for the Warriors. Yet, this was the first time Coach Kerr could have had doubts about how the quest for the championship would make it that far.

Returning to the line-up of the Warriors, Curry’s contract goes through the 2021-2022 season; Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, through the 2019-2020 season; Klay Thomson has one year left. Durant is on record that he can “opt out after this season,” although he has indicated he’ll be back.

At the end of the Warriors’ championship celebration, Curry walked through a huge crowd of Golden State Warriors’ supporters and entered a tunnel that led him away from the court. In his arms, he was described fittingly by reports that the only thing that matters to him in his career with basketball, was the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy as he held it “high into the air.”

That championship trophy is awarded to the winner of the NBA Finals.

© The FilAm 2018

Leave a Reply