EDITOR’S COLUMN: One Humble Teammate Can Make the Difference — Just Ask the Golden State Warriors

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant (Courtesy photo)

I am a diehard basketball fan, something that my late father instilled in me. It doesn’t matter whether the teams represent their high school, college or are in the pros. I just love the intensity of five-on-five showdowns, the screeching of tennis shoes on hardwood floors, the reverberation of the referees’ whistles and the sound of the buzzer at game’s end when one team alone raises their hands in victory.

Before the advent of digital televisions where you can now talk to your big screen device and command it to record and catalogue your favorite shows, I would take a week’s vacation from my Fortune 500 job just to watch the entire NCAA championship tournament so that I wouldn’t miss a single game. And yes, like the recent commercial featuring LeBron James that lampoons the good old days, I played basketball when the shorts for our uniforms looked more like hot pants than sports attire.

On Monday, I watched the NBA Finals hoping that the Golden State Warriors would beat Cleveland and take their second title in three years. They won. And I celebrated. But what really impressed me was the way Kevin Durant took his game into hyper-drive while at the same time supporting the other four players on the floor. That’s what being a team player is all about.

Durant has taken a lot of heat since leaving his former team to join the Warriors. Some called him a sellout, a turncoat and things that I’d rather not repeat. But I understood his decision. As he tells it, winning the NBA title has been his dream ever since he laced up his shoes and ran the courts in Seat Pleasant’s Activity Center in Prince George’s County. And after eight seasons in the trenches, carrying his team on his shoulders, Durant decided to share his gifts with a team that already had plenty of talent but needed one more piece.

Durant was clearly the missing link that the Warriors required. And so, despite the amazing performances of Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and the rest, the Warriors — that is their team — proved too much for the Cavaliers.

Even while accepting MVP honors and finally putting his hands on the trophy for which he has so long dreamed, it was clear that he didn’t want to stay in the spotlight for too long. He just wanted to keep participating in a sport that he loves. And he wants to play it with his teammates.

Too bad more people don’t understand what Durant illustrated so succinctly in all five games of this year’s NBA Finals — there’s no “I” in team.

About D. Kevin McNeir – Washington Informer Editor 158 Articles

Award-winning journalist, book editor, voice-over specialist and author with 17 years in the industry. Currently an education and religion beat reporter for The Washington Informer. But I also tackle local (D.C. and Maryland) politics, entertainment, business and health articles to maintain my edge.

Born and raised in Motown and a staunch Wolverine – that is a graduate of the University of Michigan, I left corporate America (IBM) to pursue my passion for writing, accepting a beat reporter’s gig under the tutelage of the late Sam Logan, founding publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. I continued to hone my craft at N’DIGO Magapaper, Windy City Times and The Wednesday Journal, all in Chicagoland; the Atlanta Voice and The Miami Times. I’ve been fortunate to be chosen twice as the Feature Writer of the Year by the Chicago Association of Black Journalists. Later, as the senior editor of one of the country’s oldest Black-owned newspapers, The Miami Times, I helped my staff bring home the NNPA’s highest honor – Publication of the Year, 2001. That same year I picked up first and second place awards for news and feature writing, respectively, also from the NNPA.

Today I’m based in the nation’s capital where I’m honored to serve as the editor for The Washington Informer. Recognizing the importance of education, I’ve earned two master’s degrees from Emory University, Summa Cum Laude and Princeton Theological Seminary, majoring in theology and philosophy.

If I can slow down, I may actually complete and publish a collection of essays I’ve been working on for many years, “Growing up Motown,” sharing childhood memories of experiences with musical legends like Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, the Four Tops, the Miracles, Gladys Knight and Take Six. My favorite foods: spinach, lasagna, pancakes and Oysters Rockefeller. My mom, 86, always my “best friend” and “cheerleader,” now lives with me and she brings me great joy. I’m a fiercely protective yet encouraging father and grandfather always down for traveling, shopping or celebrating the natural beauty of God’s world. I live by the following words: “Less is more” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

You can reach me on Twitter (@dkevinmcneir), Facebook (Kevin McNeir) or via e-mail, mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com

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