“Please don’t, the night will be better without it,” Kevin Durant responded on X when fans discussed a potential video tribute from the Nets.
Well, he got one before the game.
The Nets honored KD with a tribute video in his first game back in Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/8EPpcUxdCY— ESPN (@espn) February 1, 2024
Airing on ABC, one of six nationally televised games for Brooklyn, anticipation for his return grew in the leading days. There were mixed emotions in Nets World. KD is in the upper echelon among legends who have worn a Nets jersey.
There are plenty of greats, but legends? It comes down to Dr. J, Jason Kidd, and Kevin Durant. Point blank. His greatness on the court is undeniable. He missed time due to a ruptured Achilles and a torn MCL in 2023. When healthy, the Nets had a shot at winning it all. He averaged 29-7-6 on 50-40-90 splits in 3.5 seasons, yet only one playoff series win.
All said, the 7/11 was ugly and the hangover still lingers. The same day Ben Simmons was deemed out yet again, KD returned for the first time — nearly one year after demanding a trade to Phoenix and nearly a year since the Nets traded Kyrie Irving.
The ending was ugly. The era was dramatic and a colossal failure. Some will say KD quit on the Nets, some will say he had every right. Mixed emotions are understandable. Heck, even KD’s best moment was also one of the worst moments.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. It may sting, but it doesn’t matter. It failed and that’s that. As for his legacy, we’ll look back on his time in Brooklyn and it will be one big cloud of smoke, perhaps caused by his trust in the other star he followed to NYC in the first place.