I keep a lot of things on my dorm room desk, but perhaps my most prized possession is a birthday present from a few months ago. It’s a cute little teddy bear with a grey Golden State Warriors jersey, the shining golden Bay Bridge embossed front-and-center. For me, it’s an aspect of a home I once knew, whose essence and pride still flows through my veins. I’ve lived in North Carolina for the past 13 years, but I still feel connected to the Bay Area through this one venue: basketball.
When I moved to North Carolina at age 6, I struggled to find new hobbies and interests I was passionate about. As a result, I clung to the best aspect of my Cali childhood: basketball. At that time, I was all about college basketball (not that anything has changed since), mainly because my parents used to take me to Stanford games every month. We’d sit in the nosebleeds, eating cotton candy and watching Stanford amount to nothing yet again (an 18-13 record for 2004-2005 season).
At home, we’d experience similar disappointment with our Warriors: they would fail to see the playoffs during my time in California, disappoint us immensely in the 2006-2007 playoffs and then experience another playoff drought until the 2012-13 season (side note: this awful experience prepared me for Carolina basketball).
Enter Kevin Durant.
A mysterious 6’9” recruit out of Maryland, Kevin Durant was one of the top contenders for my newly-decided favorite team, the North Carolina Tar Heels. Although he was offered a place in their 2006 recruiting class and strongly desired to attend, KD ultimately turned it down to dominate at The University of Texas at Austin for a year and eventually in the NBA.