Finally, Kevin Durant is an NBA champion!*
Last night, the Golden State Warriors confirmed their inevitability by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games to capture their second championship in three years, behind a Finals MVP-worthy performance from the Slim Reaper. (He doesn't like it, but c'mon, that's an awesome nickname.) Of course, anyone who follows basketball knows what that asterisk up there is all about:
- The Warriors were already a historically great team before Durant joined.
- Durant’s previous team, the Oklahoma City Thunder (aka Zombie Sonics), were a game away from beating those Warriors and advancing to the finals last year.
- Ipso facto, Kevin Durant’s NBA championship is invalid because he chose to take “the path of least resistance” or whatever.
At least, that's what sports talk radio blowhards and hating-ass Twitter pundits would have you believe. Almost immediately after the Warriors clinched the Larry O'Brien Trophy, Nike aired a suspiciously well-timed ad playing off all that chatter. Created by Portland's own little advertising-agency-next-door, Wieden + Kennedy, the spot features an array of said blowhards arranged in a Dr. Strangelove-style war room, spewing forth the various criticisms that have dogged Durant throughout his career ("too skinny," "not a real leader," "has a weird horizontal goatee"—OK I made up that last one), only to be silenced by the victory that literally just occurred. It's set to the Ol' Dirty Bastard classic "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," which makes anything roughly a grillion times more awesome.
AdWeek called the spot "great," and it's indeed pretty goosebump-raising. (Though again, that could just be the "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" talking.) Of course, the assertion that winning a title will somehow dead the debate over Durant's decision to join the Warriors is specious at best. No one questioned whether the second-best player in the world could win a championship by replacing the worst starter on a 73-win juggernaut; the argument is about the perceived lack of valor in him doing so, and that's definitely not going away any time soon. But, hey, it's a cool ad. Once again, "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," y'all.
And to think, if the Blazers had drafted Durant in 2007 over the World's Tallest Dentist, maybe W+K could've made the same commercial for their hometown team.
Sorry, Blazer fans. Had to.