When LeBron left Cleveland in 2010, there was a lot of talk about how much respect he lost within the NBA community. Many people were calling him a quitter and we remember there were many jerseys burned in the aftermath. However, seven years later, his “decision” is getting the light shined on it once again.
Now-Warrior Kevin Durant had left the team where it seemed as if he was going to be there forever. He left the NBA and the community of Oklahoma City shaken up. People have been equating to Durant’s leaving OKC to LeBron James leaving Cleveland and here is why that isn’t true at all:
A Look at The Teams
It’s almost 100% obvious how little of a team LeBron had built around him in the 2000s and the fact he took them on deep playoff runs almost every year is just a testament to how much he wanted to win. With their second best player being Mo Williams, it was solely on LeBron that Cleveland finished the 2009-10 season with a 61-21 record and as we all know a second-round loss in six games to the Boston Celtics. Over in Miami, Dwyane Wade was struggling after Shaq had left and was just two years removed from having a top-two pick in the draft. Miami finished the 2009-10 season with a 47-35 record and a first-round exit in the playoffs in a quick five games.
I don’t think I need to provide a lot of insight on this one. Durant was in OKC with this year’s should-be-MVP, Russell Westbrook, and those two were playing like the best one-two combo in the league during the regular season, finishing with a 55-27 record, as well as melting down in the Western Conference Finals up 3-1 against the Warriors, only to lose 4-3 in infamous style. Panning over to Golden State, we all know the story: 73-9, unanimous MVP, “greatest team ever,” etc. All for that to get overshadowed by them blowing their own 3-1 lead to Cleveland.
The main thing to take from this is that when Durant left OKC for Golden State, he went right to the enemy. He was just eliminated by them, the team was already complete and would have been in the finals again with or without him. LeBron chose Miami in the midst of them rebuilding and would have most likely either been an eight seed again or missed the playoffs the following year. I understand this is all situational, however looking at it from this perspective will hopefully stop people from comparing these instances as they have little to no similarity other than the fact that they both left with hopes of winning a ring.
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