Kevin Durant is not someone to take things lightly, and going into his first Finals with the Warriors, he even found a way to go after Rihanna.
The 2016-17 Finals were seen as Durant’s coming-to-age show. He finally got his chance to capture his first career title after signing with the Golden State Warriors.
Of course, that decision was highly controversial and drew a lot of criticism from NBA fans. The Warriors had gone 73-9 the previous year and had knocked off Durant’s Thunder in the WCF before infamously blowing a 3-1 lead in the Finals.
Durant was called a snake, and everyone thought his move was incredibly weak. The reaction mirrored LeBron James’ decision to join the Miami Heat in 2010.
On this date in 2016, Kevin Durant announced he will sign with the Warriors.
Durant would go on to make the finals in every season he played with Golden State, winning 2 championships, and taking home Finals MVP in both. pic.twitter.com/zSWqHn20X6
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 4, 2022
Kevin Durant shut down Rihanna with his play in 2017 Finals
The 2016-17 Finals matchup seemed to be penciled in well before it happened. The Warriors were unbeatable without Durant, and now they had added perhaps the second best player in the league. On the other side, nobody was challenging LeBron James’ Cavs in a weak East.
NBA fans knew they were going to see Warriors-Cavs part three. However, the excitement for the matchup wasn’t the same with Durant’s addition. Fans wanted a rematch of Curry and LeBron without any excuses for either side.
In the 2014-15 season, the Warriors were criticized for taking six games to finish off a Cavs team with injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. In the 2015-16 season, LeBron stormed back from a 3-1 deficit, but Draymond was suspended a game and Curry had ankle issues throughout the series.
Fans demanded one series with everything even for the tiebreaker. Durant made that impossible. He also made the most of his opportunity on the big stage.
In game one, Durant came out guns blazing. He finished the game with 38 points, eight assists, and nine rebounds. He shot 53.8% from the field and 50% from three. LeBron James and the Cavs were helpless as they were destroyed 113-99.
Durant also made sure Rihanna knew he wasn’t going to be messing around. The $1.4 billion net worth pop star made it clear she was supporting LeBron and the Cavs, and with every shot Durant drilled, he made sure to peek a glance at the stands to show Rihanna what was going down.
Durant absolutely bossed this series. He finished on averages of 35.2, 5.4, and 8.2 while shooting on a 55.6/47.4/92.7 split. His efforts crowned him Finals MVP and gave him his first title.