SAN FRANCISCO — On the morning of July 4, I read Kevin Durant’s post at the Players Tribune announcing his decision to join the Golden State Warriors from my home, a stone’s throw from the George Washington Bridge in the New York metropolitan area.
When I watched the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder battle throughout an epic Western Conference Finals this past spring, after watching the Thunder dispatch the San Antonio Spurs in the prior round, I thought that Durant’s decision had been made for him. With a sidekick in Russell Westbrook and depth around him to at worst challenge the Warriors once again — and possibly be favored to beat them — I, like many, expected Durant to stay in Oklahoma City for at least one more season.
Of course, that isn’t how things came to pass. And after Durant decided to take his talents to the Bay Area in July, I began thinking about the possibility of following the Warriors around the country this season.
I’ve spent the past nine years living in New York, a city I love and where most of my family and friends remain. I’m always happy to say New York is the world’s greatest city, and it retains that title even as I’m as far away from it as I have ever been.
But what New York won’t have for the next nine months is the most fascinating basketball team ever assembled. Never before in the history of this sport has this happened: a team that already had set a record for the most regular season wins in NBA history –- and came within a Stephen Curry injury and a Draymond Green hit below the belt of claiming a second straight NBA title back in June — adding another Hall of Fame player without losing any significant pieces off its roster.
As someone whose job is to cover the NBA from a national perspective, the idea of being around this team as much as possible was an enticing one.
The calculus behind this move goes back to a conversation I had with Post sports editor Matt Vita the day I started this job last November.
“Every day,” he said, “your goal should be to try and write the most interesting thing about the NBA that day.”
It was straightforward advice, and has served me well over the past 10 months I’ve been on the job. Once Durant made his decision, something became crystal clear: Nothing in sports — let alone the NBA — is going to be more interesting over the next nine months than the Golden State Warriors.
When the Warriors won a double-overtime thriller in Boston last December, I wrote a column calling them the biggest and best show in sports. If there was any doubt that moniker wouldn’t apply any more, that ended the second Durant decided to join them. Now the Warriors aren’t just chasing the ghosts of last season’s stunning collapse in the Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers; they are chasing the ghosts of basketball history, as they appear poised to dominate the sport over the next few years and have the chance to leave a legacy only few in the history of the sport can match.
The story lines around this team will be plentiful, and you –- the readers –- have more than displayed your interest in your actions. Last season, Warriors coverage consistently was read more than anything else about the NBA, and when Durant decided to sign with the Warriors, my stories about it received more than 2.5 million page views in a three-day span.
It’s clear that despite Durant deciding not to heed the call of home, the interest in D.C.’s most beloved basketball son hasn’t dissipated. That certainly won’t change as he embarks on a season that will see him shoulder more pressure to deliver a championship than perhaps any player in NBA history.
Now, having said all that, I want to make something clear: This is still going to be a space that covers the entire NBA — not just Golden State. I didn’t move here for the season to become The Washington Post’s Golden State Warriors beat writer, with updates on injuries and other minutiae. There will be plenty of stories about up-and-coming young teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons, aging icons like Manu Ginobili and Dirk Nowitzki, and whether teams like the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls can exceed my low expectations for them for this season.
But no matter how anyone feels about them, or how they were constructed, the Warriors are going to dominate the NBA this season in a way even the Miami Heat with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh couldn’t. So, with that in mind, I picked up and drove across the country over the past few days. And, beginning with the opening of training camp Monday, my goal will be to continue to provide thoughtful, interesting and insightful coverage of the NBA while giving Washington Post readers a perspective on the most fascinating team in sports that they won’t get anywhere else.
I’m really looking forward to what should be a fascinating season, both personally and professionally. I’m excited for the possibilities, and looking forward to all of you coming along for the ride.