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The Real Reason Kevin Durant Joined the Warriors

It has to do with Queen Latifah

Getty Images
Getty Images

I will always cherish those five minutes when we could safely clown on Joe Lacob. That blip between eras when “light-years ahead” dick swinging met the reality of a historic Finals defeat; that fraction of a moment when you reminded yourself that Lacob was so moved by the works of Ayn Rand that he named his dogs John Galt and Howard Roark; that flash of emerald green at sunset when a simple jack-off motion was enough to parry Joey Lakes’s claim that the Warriors were the reason the salary cap went up; that quiet, peaceful instant when the dusk light played shapes on the water and susurrus of the wind through the leaves gave you the strength to laugh about how Lacob, like Russ Hanneman made flesh, had basically admitted to fucking the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Sometimes, though, with all the superheated solar gas emitted by Lacob, it’s easy to overlook the other member of the Warriors’ out-front ownership duo: full-fledged Illuminati member Peter Guber.

Fun facts about my guy Peter Guber:

  • Former president of Columbia Pictures.
  • Veteran television and film producer.
  • Sat on the jury that convicted Winona Ryder of shoplifting, despite having released three of her movies.
  • Wrote the best seller Tell to Win, about how to leverage personal narratives to further goals. From the book’s Amazon blurb: “Today everyone — whether they know it or not — is in the emotional transportation business. More and more, success is won by creating compelling stories that have the power to move partners, shareholders, customers, and employees to action. Simply put, if you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it. And this book tells you how to do both.”
  • Founded Mandalay Entertainment in 1995. Since then the multimedia entertainment company has expanded; its baseball arm recently sold its ownership stakes in several minor league teams, including the Oklahoma City Redhawks (now OKC Dodgers). Mandalay Baseball Properties sold the Redhawks to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that Guber co-owns, meaning he kinda sold the team to himself.

As a connoisseur of conspiracies, I offer this theory about Guber’s involvement in helping Golden State land Durant:

In February 2016, Lifetime announced that The Real MVP: The Wanda Durant Story, a biopic based on the life of Durant’s mother, had started production. Taking its title from KD’s memorable MVP acceptance speech, it was slated to air on Mother’s Day weekend. Strange timing indeed: Durant won the MVP award in 2014. But for some reason, in 2016 Lifetime was fast-tracking (three months from start of production to air date) a one-and-a-half-hour made-for-television movie based on a notable moment that had no current relevance? Why would that be?

Perhaps because Durant would soon become a highly sought-after unrestricted free agent, and green-lighting a movie about his mom might help sway him when the time came?

In 2012, Guber partnered with Creative Artists Agency’s sports arm to launch Mandalay Sports Media. The production company that sped The Real MVP from principal photography in February to basic cable in May is Flavor Unit Entertainment, which was founded by rapper and actress Queen Latifah in 1989. Latifah has been a CAA client since 2013. Hmm. KD is repped by Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports; Roc Nation partnered with CAA from 2013 to 2015.

Did Guber have a hand in getting The Real MVP on the air? I don’t know; this is baseless speculation, the better to enrich the NBA’s rich shadow history. But such a move would fit nicely with Guber’s ethos of using personal stories to persuade people.

“To achieve significant competitive advantage and sustained success, regardless of your goal or industry, profession or political aspirations, you must be in the emotional transportation business,” Guber wrote on LinkedIn (!!!) in 2012. “Why? Because everyone at sometime needs to persuade someone or a group of ‘someone’s’ to do something — buy my product, join my company or vote for me — your call to action. And, emotional transportation is your super-charged vehicle that gets you to this destination quickest and most joyously.”