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The Finals MVP and “The Real MVP”

There was no sight more touching on Monday night than Wanda and Kevin Durant taking it all in.

NBA: Finals-Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


Sorry, I’ll try to reign it in a little bit. I’m writing this as the metaphorical champagne is still drying. If I could bottle the feeling I had on Monday night and sell it, no one would ever have a bad day again.

The Warriors are NBA Champions once again, and there was something a little different about the sights and sounds of the post-game celebration for this one. Sure, we had all the usual Warriors families representing, with even more Warriors kids than last time. We also had new veterans and rookies experiencing it for the first time.

What stood out the most to me, however, was watching Wanda and Kevin Durant take in everything that comes with winning an NBA Championship for the first time.

The camera cut to Wanda with a little over a minute left in the game, and she was crying and hugging those around her. It made me start crying as well. There’s something so pure about that kind of unfettered joy and pride.

Seeing the look on a mother’s face as she realizes that her son is about to achieve his dream is something that truly warms the heart, especially when you know their story and how close they are.

Shortly after the win Nike aired a commercial that perfectly summed up Kevin Durant’s career journey, from early doubters to the MVP award in 2014 followed by calls of “traitor” and “cupcake” after he signed with Golden State all the way through to winning the championship.

People can hate him all they want, but he’s still going to work hard and thrive. He was given even more of an opportunity to do so with his decision to come to Oakland.

True, he came to a team with a unanimous MVP in Stephen Curry, prompting many people to say “there’s only one ball.” Many believed that he would not succeed under the shadow of Curry. However, it was Durant, not Curry, who won the Finals MVP. And Curry was thrilled!

Curry, of course, hugged Wanda first, but when he and Kevin finally embraced Curry can be heard joyfully shouting “Is this what you came here for?!” Yes. I’m pretty sure it is.

The moment Durant first saw his mom in the post-game chaos, where they sort of bowed to each other and he let loose a guttural, triumphant yell, that moment was one of the things that will stick in the hearts and memories of Warriors fans the most about this win. That is a son who did this for his mom. That is a mom who has worked so hard to make sure that her son’s dreams could come true. That is moving.

Shortly afterwards, Sonya Curry made a beeline for Wanda and they had a very sweet moment of celebration for each other, their sons and the team.

Moments like this show that this is more than a team; it is a family. Not just player to player, it goes organization-wide.

Wanda was front and center in all of the ceremonies, and you can see almost every member of the organization pay respect to her throughout the celebrations. This was touching, and it tells a lot about the heart of this organization.

They wanted to bring Durant on board specifically to achieve this moment, and they made sure to let not just him, but his family know just how much they are appreciated.

This may have been one of the reasons Durant was motivated to come here after meeting with teammates and members of the organization. Not just the opportunity to win a ring, but the opportunity to thrive and be a part of something special. Something effervescent for himself and his family.

Of course, none of this is meant to diminish the roles of other players and their families; this was just one I wanted to highlight. As David West said:

Much respect to all Warriors parents, significant others and anyone who helped get them to where they are now. We know it wasn’t easy and we are just as happy for them as we are for the players themselves. We hope they’re ready for a parade because they’ve all earned it.

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