Kevin Durant has received some serious vitriol from many current and former NBA players for his decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and sign with the Golden State Warriors in the off-season. One former player who doesn’t have a problem with the decision is two-time NBA champion Shane Battier.
“I didn’t mind it. First of all, if you’ve ever been to San Francisco, they got the world’s best cioppino, I mean come on,” Battier joked on The Jim Rome Show on Tuesday.
“I don’t mind it. I don’t take as much umbrage as other guys,” Battier said. “There’s no guarantee Golden State is going to win. Look they’re going to be really tough, but talent only gets you in the front door. You got to move your feet, know how to dance once you’re in the front door. There’s a lot that goes into building a championship team. A lot.”
Having been a part of a supposed ‘Super Team’ in Miami with the Heat, the former John Wooden Award winner knows it’s not as easy to just roll the ball out and win the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
“When I went to the Miami Heat we had a culture of sacrifice,” Battier said. “Listen, everyone from LeBron, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, all the way on down to the last guy, took less money, took less years, took less shots, took less credit to be there. So sacrifice was easy when everyone has done it. Golden State they got a bunch of guys making the max, a lot of guys used to getting a lot of shots. We will see who sacrifices and how much it means to them to be champions over being individuals.”
Battier said the “sacrifice” part will be Golden State’s biggest challenge.
“The disease of me. The disease of me,” Battier said in regards to the one thing that can ruin a super team. “If those guys can get over who gets the credit, then they will be unbeatable. But if they start to worry about who gets credit and who is not getting enough and who is getting too much, then you know what, everyone else has a shot, a real shot.”
Time will tell if Golden State truly has created a true culture of sacrifice by players turning down bigger paychecks, something Battier says his Miami teams did.
“In the locker room, money is a huge determinant,” Battier said. “So when you see LeBron give away millions of dollars to be in Miami, and Dwyane Wade give back millions of dollars to bring in role players like myself, Rashard Lewis, and Ray Allen, ugh that’s real sacrifice. Look, we all took big pay cuts to be there too. There’s no one in Golden State that has taken a pay cut, or at least till this point, to keep the core of the team together. Everyone has received the maximum amount they’ve gotten and with that that will, I think that will be tested this year.”