When Hall of Famer Jerry West calls, you would be pretty dumb not to listen intently and take his words to heart.
That’s exactly what happened to former MVP Kevin Durant on Saturday as he continued his whirlwind meetings with six NBA teams before huddling up Sunday night to make the ultimate decision of his career.
West, an all-time great member of the Los Angeles Lakers, is a consultant with the Golden State Warriors. He switched over to that role after helping the Lakers to multiple titles earlier this century as the team’s general manager.
The NBA’s logo (literally), reportedly called up Durant earlier this weekend to give the Oklahoma City Thunder forward something to ponder. It wasn’t only a way to pitch Durant to his Warriors. Instead, it was also meant detail his own experiences as a player.
“West spoke to Durant from the perspective of an all-time great player who kept falling short of winning an NBA championship, ” ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported Sunday afternoon. “While West won a title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1972, he lost his first 7 trips to the NBA Finals and finished 1-8 in the Finals overall. West, 78, told Durant those losses still eat at him to this day, according to sources.”
West is considered one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the Association. However, his Lakers teams fell to the Boston Celtics on multiple occasions in the Finals.
With Durant, this story might hit home big time. Despite the run of regular season success the Thunder have had, they’ve only earned one NBA Finals appearance throughout his career.
This past season saw Durant’s Thunder fall to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals after leading that series 3-1.
West is the same guy that once successfully pitched Shaquille O’Neal on the idea of joining Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, one of the primary reasons why the Lakers represent the most-recent dynasty around the NBA.
To be sure, West’s pitch to Durant wasn’t all about his personal experiences as a player. No, he wanted to make it very clear that going to Oakland would make it much easier on Durant.
“West also told Durant that playing alongside the Warriors’ star trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green would make it much easier on him,” the ESPN report continued. “West opined that in Oklahoma City, most of Durant’s shot attempts are difficult and contested.”
This is very true. Durant shot at a 60 percent clip on catch-and-shoot opportunities this past season. He was at 62 percent on uncontested mid-range shots. With Thompson and Curry in the mix, Durant would definitely see a lot of these types of shots.
As Durant hunkers down with his team to decide where he will be playing basketball next season, multiple reports are indicating that he’s very interested in joining the Warriors. If that were to come to fruition, fans in Oakland can thank Mr. West.