Many assume that Draymond Green recruited Kevin Durant after the Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals to LeBron James and the Clevland Cavaliers. Green and Durant even admitted that they exchanged a series of texts after GSW's brutal Game 7 loss, which helped recruit KD to Golden State.
But what many don't know is that the Warriors organization swayed Durant even before Green attempted to recruit him.
The Warriors were just being themselves
It was during the 2015 All-Star game when the Golden State coaching staff caught Durant's attention. Durant, who at that time represented the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Western Conference roster, was coached by Steve Kerr and his staff. Durant was attracted by the coaching staff's charismatic and free-spirited attitude in the locker room.
"A few Warriors officials believe that KD was drawn to the Warriors in part by All-Star Weekend 2015 when Kerr was coach of the West squad," Ethan Sherwood Strauss, writer of the book "The Victory Machine," said. "It was Kerr at peak cheerful insouciance, months before a botched back surgery brought constant pain. He was cracking jokes and having fun with the absurd proceedings. At one point, the Warriors coaches were drinking beers in their locker room when a curious Durant poked his head in"
According to Strauss, Durant liked the idea of how the Warriors approached every game with joy and freedom. Unlike how it was in OKC, it didn't have to be serious all the time. Kerr and his staff knew how to have fun, lighten the mood and make sure each player in the locker room felt they belonged— all of which appealed to KD.
It all started at the 2015 All-Star Game
Had Durant not participated in the 2015 All-Star Game, who knows if he would've still chosen to take his talents to Golden State and help build one of the most powerful teams in NBA history. The credit also goes to Kerr's Warriors, who organically and technically recruited Durant thanks to their unique and joyful approach to coaching.
"Well, I think joy is an integral part of not just winning, but just living," Kerr said, as narrated by Strauss. "My philosophy on joy won't change just because we have less of a chance of winning a championship next year. To me, it's an integral part of life just of your daily routine, and so it's something that will always be part of my coaching philosophy," Kerr added.
While many people will say that the Warriors dynasty wouldn't be what it is without Durant, it's also fair to say that KD wouldn't have 2 championships without the brilliance of Golden State's culture and staff. Durant's attraction to Kerr's philosophies is another reminder that every team's coaching staff plays an integral role in recruiting superstars and bringing out the best in them.