Kevin Durant had a pretty darn good NBA Finals. He averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game and was named the series MVP. It was an emphatic ending to the high-pressure season Durant chose for himself after moving to the Warriors from the Oklahoma City Thunder in July.
The last time we saw Durant in the finals, things didn’t go his way. Five years ago, he came out on the wrong end of a 4–1 defeat to LeBron James and the Miami Heat—LeBron’s first championship. After that series, his mother, Wanda, waited in the tunnel to console him. It was a candid embrace, and it became one of the more memorable off-court moments in recent NBA Finals history:
This year, the result was different, but Wanda was by his side again. It was a lovely moment, something that, according to Durant, he’d been willing into existence since the age of 8:
Before that poignant mother-son exchange, Durant had to make it through the fourth quarter. On the podium after the game, he confessed that his teammates Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala had to keep him in line when he started getting hyped up before the final buzzer:
After that came the locker room celebrations, and KD was a tad bit rusty. (He’ll get some practice over the next decade.) First, he had some trouble with the domestic light beers that had been supplied to the winners’ locker room. When he attempted to smash two cans open, Stone Cold Steve Austin style, he was met with more resistance than the Cavs could muster over five games:
After he (or one of his teammates, or the Warriors’ staff, or the magic beer fairy) finally got the cans open, the lager didn’t exactly go down smooth*:
This seemed to be a persistent issue as the night wore on. In a postgame interview, he blamed a coughing fit on that age-old aristocratic ailment: too much champagne.
According to Sports Illustrated, he had a soupçon of the nearly $200,000 worth of bubbly the Warriors had stocked in the locker room for the celebrations.
Although it took a few hours, it looks like Durant finally got a hang of this whole winning an NBA title thing.
Congratulations, KD. Hold that trophy tight. Also, remember to put two Advil on your nightstand—they may prove to be the real MVPs come the morning.
*Correction, June 13, 2017: This post originally misidentified Bud Light as a pilsner. It is a lager.