Thanks to ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons, the dynamic Thunder duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook has been linked to show. During a stretch early in the season where Durant was injured and Westbrook propelled the team to victory anyway, Simmons made a statement to his million-plus followers on Twitter saying:
“Possible Avon/Stringer situation developing with Durant/Westbrook?” It exploded from there. More virtual ink has been wasted pondering the relationship of Oklahoma City’s two biggest stars because of that pop culture allusion than actual ink used to print this publication.
For those unfamiliar with the series, which is probably most readers, Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell were the two most powerful gangsters in the Baltimore portrayed on the show. Childhood friends, the two inherited the crime syndicate from Avon’s family, leaving Avon as the alpha dog, while Stringer acted as consigliere. Together, they made more money than they knew how to handle and wielded more power than they could possibly have needed.
Then, an enterprising Baltimore Police Department special unit managed to lock Avon in prison. This left Stringer in charge while Avon “called the shots” from the penitentiary. With his taste of ultimate power, and having a wholly different vision for the crime family, Stringer’s desires and Avon’s inability to adjust led to them both having a bad ending.
How this applies to Durant/ Westbrook has been discussed ad nauseam to the point that the discussion no longer relates, but how it foreshadows their careers.
The topic has become especially prevalent after a couple of playoff performances in which Westbrook wound up taking more shots than the team’s leading scorer, Durant.
Was this “Stringer” Westbrook making a play to take control of the team? This was the first question, which always eventually led to the analyst wondering if the two players could co-exist long-term.
Of course, this is interesting to ponder in the craziness of the Internet, but it is reaching out into the mainstream now. Shows on ESPN are hypothesizing about the imminent demise of the two stars as teammates and sportstalk radio is inventing arguments between the two. It is as if they want to create controversy because the Thunder team is too boring otherwise.
That is the part that is left out. Thunder players are, by and large, basketball players only. They never make headlines for non-basketball related news stories.
With that, a rational person would assume that is because basketball is their primary focus. So, petty power grab and credit-craving maneuvers are entirely out of the character of OKC players because it has nothing to do with winning basketball games.
No innuendo is needed to see that neither Durant nor Westbrook care who is the star and who is the sidekick. But that is no fun to speculate on.
Matthews is an editor of the local blog TheLostOgle.com.