Kevin Durant knows that apart from winning multiple titles, one of the milestones that he needs to unlock to forge his name alongside the greats is for his jersey to be retired. While there is no doubt that one of Durant’s jerseys will indeed be hanging on the rafters for good, the former league MVP made sure that his request is heard loud and clear.
Durant pointed out that he’s given everything to every city and team he played for in his career. In return, he expects to be treated with the same amount of respect. Durant is also well aware of his stature as one of the league’s greats. Apart from being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Durant expects to have his jersey retired.
“Every one of these places I played is my home. I can imagine me when I’m done, and I don’t think any one of these franchises would be like, ‘No, K, what you did here is not a part of our history.’ I’m going to be a Hall of Famer when I’m done, one of the greatest to ever play. If you don’t want me to be a part of your program when I’m done playing, then that’s personal,” Durant said, per The Ringer.
Two jersey retirement ceremonies?
From his point of view, both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors have to retire his jersey. He’s still writing his history donning the Brooklyn Nets. But he’s likely gunning for a jersey retirement as well. And once again, Durant reiterated that if one of those teams passes up on him, it will be personal.
“OKC has to retire my jersey,” he continues. “It wouldn’t even be good for the game of basketball if they didn’t. The same with Golden State. I’m still doing what I’m doing here in Brooklyn, but if I continue on what I’m doing four or five years, then I’ll feel the same way about this program. I better have a home. Because I feel like I am basketball. I breathe it. This is my DNA. I put in the time and respect and love for each one of these programs on and off the floor to get that type of recognition. If I don’t do it, then it’s personal.”
There have been 13 players who have had their jersey/s retired by multiple teams. Among them are Kareem Abul-Jabbar who’s no. 33 was retired by the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks; Moses Malone’s no. 24 and 2 by the Houston Rockets and the Philadelphia 76ers; Shaquille O'Neal’s no. 34 and 32 by the Lakers and the Orlando Magic; Charles Barkley’s no. 34 by the 76ers and the Phoenix Suns, and many more.
Michael Jordan and Pete Maravich are the only two players whose numbers were retired by a team they never played for. The Miami Heat honored Jordan while the Pelicans did the same for Maravich. Kobe Bryant (8 and 24) is the only player in NBA history to have multiple numbers retired by a single organization. Wilt Chamberlain is the master of them all as he’s the only player in league history to have three jerseys retired: The Warriors, 76ers, Lakers.
Durant is at the later stages of his career. And his fans and haters may be having this conversation pretty soon. Though he didn’t lead the Thunder to a title, does the franchise need to retire no 35? After all, Durant was responsible for putting the city and the team onto the basketball map. Though Durant helped the Warriors win two titles, there’s much controversy on how he achieved it. Critics have repeatedly pointed out that Durant’s choice to move to a 73-win team is the weakest move a superstar has made in recent NBA history. Could this end up haunting Durant again once he retires?