There are different degrees to reality.
You can hear or read about something that you believe it to be true, no matter how incredible. You can see a rendering, a piece of art, an image of something and assume it’s credible and thus real. Or you can see it, with your own eyes, hear it with your own ears, and understand that yes, indeed, it is real.
And until you reach that degree, you won’t know what your reaction will be.
That’s what happened Friday morning at the HSS Training Center in Brooklyn, when Kevin Durant strode (without a discernible limb, we might note) to the Media Day podium wearing a Brooklyn Nets jersey. Black-and-white.
Arguably the best player in the game today, even if injured, was in Brooklyn, in a Nets uniform, talking about his team, his head coach. So what was the reaction? Emotional. Oh yes. Not the kind of emotion you would hope to feel if this was a championship parade. That’s euphoria. No, this was more like wonder.
Three months after he said Yes to the Nets, KD was taking questions —thoughtful ones, we might add— from a army of reporters, then with that same army snapping pictures, he posed for the Nets photographer, Nat Butler.
It’s what we had all waited for. The unreal had become the real.
It wasn’t just KD’s presence that shocked. It was enormity of what the Nets had accomplished. After all, Durant had followed Kyrie Irving (without any facial swelling, we might note), another top 10 player, to the podium.
The Nets didn’t have to trade for them or cajole them or pressure them to get them to Brooklyn. They wanted to play for the Nets. It became obvious in their and their buddy, DeAndre Jordan’s answers that they initiated the clean sweep on the night of June 30.
Durant spoke about how he had researched Kenny Atkinson through watching games as well as the coach’s pre and post-game interviews and found him “genuine.” Irving said he let the Nets know —he didn’t say how— of his interest early on and how he wanted to bring along some friends (he included Garrett Temple in the mix).
“It’s not like I had to do any deep analysis of any player here,” said Durant. “Just watching games and playing against them and seeing the continuity throughout the last couple of years, it was pretty easy to figure out what kind of team and what kind of organization this place is.”
Similarly, Irving touched on how they fit in.
“Just talking about our futures and how this opportunity ahead of us is something that we haven’t had in our careers,” said Irving, “the ability to make a choice, sitting down, actually talking in detail about the future and the investment we had in each other and the investment we wanted to have in Brooklyn, so it made sense all the way around, and then having the incredible people they have in the organization made it that much easier. It made us feel like All-Stars.”
And at the (very) end of the day, they and Jordan agreed the decision had been simple. After Irving told of how the three of them spoke via Facetime early in the morning of June 30 —4:16 a.m., to be precise — about joining forces in Brooklyn, Durant suggested it was an easy decision. When we asked for more details on the conversation, KD said the following...
“We were just like, ‘are we ready to do it’? And everybody was like, ‘Yeah.’ It was really that simple. I’m trying to think of something deeper, but it really was that simple.”
“I thought about it for a couple seconds,” he deadpanned. Burn.
You simply can’t compare this year’s Media Day to those in the past —and we’ve been to more than a decade’s worth. The reporters and camera crews were more plentiful and the scene was more like a festival than a promotional event. All smiles all around.
And as a fan, we say, Good for us! This was a special day in the history of the franchise. Sure, no games have been played, won or lost. Sure, Durant may be out the year. Sure, Wilson Chandler and Rodions Kurucs have “issues.” But Kevin Durant is a Net, god dammit, Kyrie Irving is a Nets, god dammit, and that is just great ... and now we know, very, very real.