Reggie Miller obviously isn’t the only person in the world who hates Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors next season. Early Wednesday morning, Charles Barkley appeared on ESPN’s Mike & Mike and discussed how much he dislikes the idea of KD playing for Golden State, and there have been plenty of other people who have gone off on Twitter over the last two days about KD choosing to play for the team that won 73 games last season. But you could make the argument that Miller hates KD’s decision more than anyone else right now.
We know this because Miller spent the last two days penning a suuuuuuuper long essay for Bleacher Report about his thoughts on KD. It clocks in at about 1,500 words—which, for comparison’s sake, is approximately 300 words longer than this excellent essay we published about KD on Tuesday—and it features Miller listing all the reasons he wishes KD had stayed put in Oklahoma City. We’re not going to list all of those reasons here because, well, Miller’s lengthy essay is already long enough, but Miller seems to take specific issue with KD leaving a small market behind to join a superteam. In his piece, Miller—who spent 18 seasons playing for the Pacers in Indiana—starts by sympathizing with KD's desire to win a title:
People always say to me, "I'm so glad you stayed with us"—that I stayed for 18 years with a small-market team in Indiana.
But the media, of which I am a part, always says, "Well, he never won a championship." And I get that; I understand that. Not winning a championship burns me to this day.
After reaching six Eastern Conference Finals and an NBA Finals only to finish without a title, I sympathize with Durant's dilemma. A rebound, loose ball, free throw, missed assignment, missed box-out can change everything. Being so close and ultimately losing sucks.
But Miller quickly moves on from that sentiment and explains why he stayed in Indiana for so long and why he thinks KD should have done the same in OKC:
Stars in small markets have a greater obligation to their fans.
People always ask, "What made you stay in Indiana for all those years?"
This is the best way I can answer that question: Your checkout teller at the grocery store, the attendant at the gas station, the ushers, the waiters, the waitresses—all these fans laughed and cheered with me, and they cried with me after the losses to Shaq, MJ and the Knicks.
We were in it together.
I could not look at those fans had I gone somewhere else. I could not win a championship in Miami like LeBron, popping bubbly and all that, knowing there's a group in Indiana that stayed with me when I wasn't able to win a title. I couldn't turn my back on that fanbase and say, "Yay, I got a ring!"
That's why I believe Durant took an unnecessary shortcut by joining the Warriors.
And Miller ends his essay by pointing out the opportunities he had to win a title at the end of his career before reemphasizing his original point, which is that he believes KD should have stayed with the Thunder:
I get Durant's decision. I understand that temptation.
The Celtics wanted me to come out of retirement in 2007-08, when they won a title with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. I couldn't do it. There was an opportunity to join the Lakers at one point. I couldn't do that, either. And maybe I should have.
But to me, a king should never leave his kingdom.
As we mentioned, Miller obviously isn’t the first former NBA player to sound off on KD’s decision and he probably won’t be the last, but he does offer a unique perspective on the situation, assuming you have the time to read all 1,500 words he put together to prove that no one hates KD’s move more than him. You can read his entire essay here.