Kevin Durant, Steve Kerr, Joe Lak discussed on Slate's Hang Up and Listen


Ethan Strauss's first year on the warriors. Beat was the year Steve. Kerr Steph Curry Klay Thompson. Draymond green and crew Harrison. Barnes won their first championship. He's covered the team every year since I re- SPN. After the athletic his new book the victory machine the making and unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty is about what the subtitle says. It's about There's a bit more emphasis on the UNMAKING. The central figure is Kevin Durant. Who came to the warriors in two thousand sixteen helped push them to two more titles than decamped for Brooklyn last year after getting hurt and Golden State's finals loss to Toronto of that injury in game? Five Ethan writes. This was the night of Kevin Durant's redemption and also the consummation of his Faustian bargain for years he'd wanted love and recognition from a Fan Base. That wanted to be the hero on June tenth. Twenty Nineteen Kevin. Durant was finally their hero. It just so happened to cost him his Achilles Tendon joining us now fully end then Sherwood stress congrats on the book. Thank you so much as a hell of a summary and I also agree. I think there's more focus on the unmaking because at least a literary perspective It seems that's what draws us when it comes to the NBA when it comes to the great teams. I mean you see a lot of excitement for this Jordan. Bulls documentary the last dance. David Halberstam's famous breaks of the game is about the Portland Trailblazers after they were successful. For whatever reason. I can throw in shacking Kobe as well That seems to what draws us when we look back it's the personalities white can't stay together Rather than the great basketball the rise perhaps because that's an easy to consume product in writing about. It's like dancing about architecture. Whatever metaphor. I'M GONNA start way up in the clouds kind of already there. I'm there I can join you there and reading the book it struck me that it's not about who what when where or even how not even how you've been it's about why and it's not about answering why it's about asking why and not knowing the answer in life. I think that's our most common state is asking and not knowing and one of the big wise with the warriors is about proper distribution of credit. Did they win? Because of Joe Lak- taking over from an owner. Who never won anything. Did they win because of staff did they win? Because Steve Kerr brought something new to the team and later did they win because if durant or could they have one without him. These are all questions. You kind of ponder in the book so why is it worth asking these questions? If it's impossible to know dancers. I mean that's very existential. I think I mean that's that's almost talmudic. Thank you as far as what is the? What is the point to when it comes to struggling with these answers and we don't know them to me? I just like to think about things and be as honest as I can. I think it would be a much easier book to package if it was like some of these sports books of a certain category and I'm not trying to slight them or insult them but they have a perspective where this is why success happened. This is the blueprint for success. Take this to your board meeting. This is what you can apply at your company We've seen genre that. Obviously moneyball is a great book beyond all of that. But that's a lot of the appeal. It's this Oh man I can find market inefficiencies. That's why billy being one. He found a market inefficiency and he found players. Other people didn't have it turns out. The truth is a lot more complicated there. And the reasons the as one Don't just redound to that. But it's a better story to package of you have one answer. Unfortunately when I looked into the question of how the hell this all happened. I didn't have one answer. There was a lot of luck involved. There was steph curry on this incredibly cheap contract when to MVP's and wild Joe Lak- taking over the ownership from Cohen made a tremendous amount of difference. Even there. It was a little abstract as to what the difference is. And what it means. And so Yeah I I wish that there were easy answers. I just didn't find easy. Answers looked into it. I thought it was interesting that you chose not to and I think this buttress as what you're saying you chose not to structure. This is sort of conventional sportsbook. It's not a chronological narrative. Written in some distant third person about how this great team came together and how it fell apart. It's much more organic in in the writing. It's much more essays in the writing and to the point of Dumb Luck. I mean what I what I love about the way you do. This is that you don't shy away. From these details. The fact that the new warriors ownership attempted to trade steph curry and Klay Thompson for Chris. Paul in twenty eleven the fact that the draymond green was selected in the second round after they had taken to other players before him. The fact. That Steve. Kerr wasn't necessarily the first choice to become the head coach of this team. I mean a lot of it is total dumb luck and the more we understand that total dumb lock with some you know residue of design to of quote branch rickey behind it is what makes teams successful or not is. What really is a play here? Yeah and it seems like the arrogance of Light Years Joe Lak- with his chest puffed out. It is so strong that if you brought these details to them into him their attitude would be. Yeah well we would have. We would have been great even despite this road fork were. We took the right path instead of the disastrous path. Yeah you know. We'd Gotten Chris Paul in that tray. We would have built a contender in a Titan with Chris Paul at the helm of it. I do think that's the perspective of it all. And maybe it's important to have some of that organizational arrogance but it is amazing when you look back on it. How much they're just wasn't there wasn't a plan in the way that you would think there was a plan and a lot of it was happenstance and a lot of it was dumb luck and I think we don't like that as human beings we we. We like to ascribe some sort of plan to the whole thing Injuries are like that too and teams have a bunch of injuries often. That happens because they're not doing a good job as far as training as far as knowing when to rest guys. But we don't look at that as probabilistic. We say that it's a freak injury. It's freak. It's out of nowhere who could have predicted it. We like to ascribe We often ascribed to lock the bad things. And some of the good things we ascribe to skill or two vision at some version of the successes. Many fathers failure is an orphan. I suppose so. The most common way that we connect players personalities to their on court personas is with the simple narrative of obsessive. Nass leads to greatness or with Michael Jordan obsessive slash psychosis leads to greatness and you saw that with Kobe Bryant as well with Kevin Durant the kind of obsessive nece they you document and has been documented amply by others over the last few years. It's a different kind of obsessive nece in one. That doesn't really seem to have a clear connection to why he's great as a player. Do you think that's fair? Not necessarily I think that obsessive nece does have a connection. I think the insecurity that we see permeate much of his public life has something to do with why he worked so hard to get where he got. And that's not the complete explanation but There elements to his biography. How peripatetic. It was and how this a source of comfort this grounds him in a way. It's a place where he has a lot of control the basketball court so I do think that there is something to his personality. That's that that has something to do with the greatness but it also seems like we don't like seeing all of it that we like an idea superficially of a story of obsession and how it connects with greatness will laugh at Michael Jordan having cheated at cards cheating and Old Lady at cards. And that's part of I e so competitive all my God Mike but when we actually get a full dose of the Michael Jordan Esa Michael Jordan. Let's say at the Basketball Hall of fame speech he gave we we we pull back we go. That's a little bit. Who is a little bit too close? We didn't want to see all of that. And it seems like Kevin Durant is very much that guy for this era. We're where we have so much access to athletes and what they're thinking that we see some of why he's great personality wise but it also makes a lot of people recoil or want to withhold the praise because the insecurity is so palpable. Even obviously Kevin Durant is a central character here and your relationship with him some a piece of this book in the conversation here. Can you talk a little bit about when it became apparent? Because there's a there's a guy that says durant is a different dude. All superstars a fucking crazy but like durant is a different dude. Like when was that most apparent to you in like your relationship with you. And you're like Oh this guy's not like dealing with all the other NBA stars. I've dealt man well. I heard. Obviously that is different dude going into it even talked to him a little bit about being different Dude But. I think it's just how he okay. I think one moment was. He was complaining about He was complaining about what some random twitter person was saying at him and I didn't know the random twitter person was initially made it sound like it was somebody with some clout or some following. But it turned out to be. I don't know thunder fans six one nine two right. It was just some random and Kris Haines reporter at Yahoo says the Katie. Were on the locker room. Man You're sensitive and and Aramco's yeah I am sensitive. What's wrong with that and it was just something. You typically hear the locker room. It was a very different thing to say and we didn't have anything to say back to them. In a way it's very that aspect is very healthy that he knows that he has a certain emotional range and isn't ashamed of it but it's not something you commonly see in the NBA and it's say the stuff better stuff really got under his skin right. Yes this stuff better stuff for people that don't know there is a contingent of warriors fans Andy and say that have talked about it started off you know sort of mocking Lebron fans. Maybe but then it seemed like it was weaponized in some ways but some other people that were not andy and Sam that stuff was more central to the warriors success than Katie. Is that a fair. Yeah rendering it. Yes so yeah. So that really got under his skin correct..

Coming up next