I hate the Warriors. Not in the way that one hates stepping in dog poop or the way the entire world hates Nickelback. I hate the Warriors in the way that dogs hate cats, the Capulets hate the Montagues, and my ex-girlfriend hates basic human decency. In short, I despise the Warriors with every fiber of my being.
This hatred all started when Kevin Durant chose to join the team in 2016. For the next few days after his signing, I listened to Lil B’s “F— KD” on repeat and aggressively posted on Reddit and Twitter until my thumbs were ready to bleed. In my mind, the NBA was over, and I was prepared to eulogize it. The Palpatine-like Warriors had turned Durant to the dark side, and I had accepted the rise of the new empire and the destruction of the league (and possibly even the galaxy).
Three years later, I found myself in the back of a dingy 1998 Volvo once again lamenting the death of my favorite sport. In the driver’s seat sat my friend who insisted that he enjoyed the NBA, repeating the mantra of Warriors fans everywhere: “I just enjoy greatness.”
I rolled my eyes and fired back with an argument that had been festering in my mind since Durant published “My Next Chapter”: Greatness comes from game-winners, seven-game series and rising above expectations. It doesn’t come from domination. No one likes Goliath, but everybody loves David.
My friend, ever the instigator and provocateur, quickly responded, “But why do people like David?”
The answer to this question seemed self-evident — David is liked because he was the underdog whose victory was a testament to the propensity for man to overcome the limits laid upon him.
But upon further reflection, what makes the story of David and Goliath momentous is not David — it’s the awe-inspiring strength of the behemoth Goliath that makes this biblical account such an iconic story. If David would have fought a man of regular strength, his victory would have been ultimately inconsequential. It wouldn’t have occupied the thoughts of Jews and Christians for millennia, and it wouldn’t have become the overused trope used by sports writers everywhere. But David didn’t fight some average Mordecai — he fought Goliath, the strongest man the Philistines could muster, hand-picked by King Saul himself. And with a slingshot in hand, facing seemingly insurmountable odds, David won.
The Warriors are the Goliath of Goliaths — their talent and skill is unparalleled. Every night, they can trot out a five-man lineup in which each player is an All-Star. But it’s precisely this greatness that will make their demise a legendary moment. It’s their unprecedented power that elevates teams such as the Rockets, Bucks, Raptors and Thunder to new heights. It makes their challenges and battles all the more legendary. It raises the quality of play to the point that when the walls of the Warriors’ kingdom finally come toppling down, the game of basketball will have reached never-before-seen greatness.
I left that 1998 Volvo and the Denny’s parking lot with a newfound appreciation for the Warriors. I still hate them in the same way that an 8-year-old kid hates his dad who blocks his every shot and dunks on him with reckless abandon during a friendly father-son game in the driveway. Despite what others may argue, I still firmly believe it isn’t fun or exciting to watch Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry hit wide-open threes on defenders that look like they should be playing in the G League. But come playoff time, I’ll be glued to my TV for every Warriors game. Because ultimately, David will defeat Goliath, and I, for one, want to be there to see it in all its glory.