By Randal Agyekum
The destructive nature of opinion-based sports agendas & narratives on the legacies of some of our greatest athletes
So we find ourselves here because on the 4th day of Black History Month, this man above decided it was the right idea to publicly bash, and denounce the credibility, and greatness of the career of Kevin Durant. All for the sake of upholding some sort of journalistic/narrative driven agenda. So on February 4th, on NBA Today with the likes Malika Andrews and Chiney Ogwumike, proud defender of the "brothas" as he consistently proclaims was not looking out for the brotherhood when he made the outlandish claim that the body of work that is Kevin Durant's basketball career will be defined by his departure from Golden State if they fail to win an NBA championship this season. Saying,
"If these brothas, do not win a championship, do you understand that Kevin Durant is on the verge for being recognized moreso for the guy that left Steph Curry to go with Kyrie Irving, than he is for the two chips and two finals mvps."
First of all, the Brooklyn Nets have been pushed as a "win-now' team for the last two seasons, and whilst that pressure is definitely warranted due to the multitude of talent on their roster, it's absurd the level of pressure in which media members like Stephan A perpetuate in the push of this take. For example, last year they were a championship or bust team, well they lost. Has the world ended, did Brooklyn and the Nets' organization implode into chaos because they failed to fit the agenda and storyline mentality? Whilst the Nets have faced their hardships and set backs as of this season this win-now narrative fails to recognize the greatness of the Brooklyn Nets, it's players, coaching staff, and most importantly their competitors. I personally hate this take because it is tacky, lazy, and overall destructive. Why can players such as KD, Kyrie, and James Harden be celebrated for their greatness and the product of basketball that they produce prior to vilifying them and preemptively doubting them solely based upon their previous individual successes? It's as if we forget basketball is a team sport when it's most convenient for the narrative's sake. Why are we holding a mistake that the Brooklyn Nets have yet to make over their heads to the extent where we are saying it is defining a career? This comes amidst the Net's 9-game losing streak only fueling negative propaganda within an already uneasy fanbase. But let the Nets prove themselves, allow them to lose and make those mistakes in the playoffs, or allow them to dominate like we all expect from them. But to take this time while their team moral is down, to attack their championship aspirations is crazy. There are so many franchises and players that could care less about the importance of providing the fans with a great brand of basketball, providing an entertaining viewing process and experience, and whilst they do get paid a lot of money to do so, does that allow for the media to consistently devalue what is actually happening for the sake of crafted storylines? Because realistically what is being accomplished by Stephan A making comments as such? Because if the goal was to motivate the Nets and critique their potential faults, then why do it when none of their best players are playing consistently? Why do it when KD, the leader of this team and prior to his injury MVP candidate, has been out for the last three weeks?!
Bashing Nets basketball during a time of off-brand Nets basketball, whether due to injury or circumstance, is just weak man. Its pathetic, it egregious, and this take most of all is lazy. It's a narrative that doesn't look at the product of basketball displayed by a healthy Nets team at full strength. But rather than recognizing the greatness that sprouts when the Nets big 3 step on the court, it rather anticipates success and devalues their accomplishments. So when they win, they were supposed to win, but if they lose we drop the hammer and now their careers are forever tainted, stained, and altered. All three of them should walk the remainder of their lives with bags over their head dreading the legacy defining loss that occurred in the 21-22 season. Do you hear how absurd that narrative is?? Their victories are normalized and losses highlighted to the point where it defines their life's work?! Now that's crazy! Why can't we appreciate greatness while we are alive to see it, why does upholding this narrative and journalistic code mean that on national television you consistently find yourself devaluing and pinning black athletes against each other? And I get it, hate media sells, it gets likes, it gets attention and eyes, but what purpose does it serve then to spin the product we see on a day to day basis. Because if the motive for going on live television and using your platform to say how KD's legacy will be portrayed narrative wise, preemptively to the failure only makes you preemptively push out those headlines and narratives that you're warning KD to be prepared for. It also leaves you ceceptible for control. I can't blame these players for calling media members puppets when they jump on headlines that haven't even had the chance to be published. Stephan A went on national television and warned us about future headlines, whilst perpetuating those same headlines, and deflects all accountability for the take by claiming it's some prophetic warning. No, it's trash and we should not allow for this man to be telling crystal ball tales on television instead of talking about actual basketball. And if it really is a warning oh wise, Stephan A, then what are you accomplishing by preemptively speaking about those potential headlines? Does that not impact the perceptions of many people on KD's legacy. Because I can promise you KD's legacy won't be destroyed by anything that happens on the court. It's off the court narratives like such that only go to serve to ignore and bash the greatness that of all people, KD, that should not be put to question. It's a failure to recognize the impact and drive that your voice holds. It's negligent, cowardice, and just as KD himself said egregious, because no one has put this narrative out in the air yet until you spoke it to existence Stephan A. And it will only add fuel to the fire that you're supposedly trying to prevent. And in the lack of acknowledgement that the take isn't even your own belief, then what is it's purpose? What point does it serve? How is it not supposed to be looked at like a black man going on tv and using his platform to bash and devalue the work of another black man preemptively before he even made sed mistake? I can't stand reporters like this because they admit to our face that they don't think for themselves. But hey all I can say is enjoy basketball as it is, watch the product and drown out all this narrative driven theatrics promoted by these major news outlets, because if you do you might miss out on once in a lifetime moments. But hey who am I to talk, I'm just a viewer that probably watches basketball the same way as you. Enjoy basketball, appreciate greatness, probably basketball.
Props to KD and mama Durant for speaking out and not letting this negligence to define the popular narrative.