Kevin Durant’s tenure with the Golden State Warriors ended in devastating fashion, as he hobbled off the court after rupturing his Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. No one knew for sure at the moment, but it turned out to be the last time we’ll ever see Durant in a Warriors jersey.
And, as it turns out, it’s the last time we’ll ever see anyone wear the No. 35 for the Warriors. In a statement released on Monday, Warriors co-chairman Joe Lacob thanked Durant for everything he helped the Warriors accomplish during his time with the team, and announced that they will retire his jersey.
Lacob’s full statement:
Three years ago, we were thrilled with the arrival of Kevin Durant, a transformative NBA player and one of the best to ever play the game. He provided our fans and franchise with numerous highlights during his stay here — two NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVP, three trips to the Finals, unparalleled efficiency — and carried himself with class and dignity both on and off the court. His commitment to our community was evident each day, including last season when his philanthropic efforts earned him the NBA’s annual Community Assist Award. Today, as he starts a new chapter in his incredible career, we thank KD for all of his contributions, for being an integral part to one of the most prolific runs in NBA history and wish him well as he continues his Hall of Fame journey. As long as I am Co-Chairman of this team, no player will ever wear #35 for the Warriors again.
Despite helping the Warriors get to the Finals in all three of his seasons, and winning two titles and two Finals MVPs, Durant didn’t have the smoothest tenure in the Bay Area. He was often mired in petty drama, be it with the team or media, and never truly seemed to be accepted by Warriors fans.
That isn’t much a surprise given what that trio had accomplished before Durant’s arrival, but it doesn’t make Durant’s feelings invalid. There were moments, too, when it was obvious he wasn’t quite a part of the group, such as during their championship parade in 2018,about Durant not earning the same level of contract as Curry.
Retiring Durant’s jersey can’t make up for how his time with the team came to an end, but it’s a nice gesture to show how much he meant to the team during their run, and is an honor that a player like Durant is sure to appreciate.