My Summer Lair Chapter #157: Does Winning Mean You Are Successful?
Winning covers a multitude of sins. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant played together on the LA Lakers from 1996 to 2004; winning three consecutive championships (2000, 2001, 2002) and making an NBA Finals appearance in 2004. Yet what’s fascinating is that winning didn’t do it for Kevin Durant. He played on the Golden State Warriors from 2016-2019 and they won 2 championships (2017, 2018).
In The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty author Ethan Sherwood Strauss writes the following 3 sturdy observations:
“Most sports books are celebratory in nature, but this one dwells on the sadness that comes with success.”
“I think that’s part of the modern condition: the modern celebrity is being tricked into giving away too much and corrupting their image for the public.”
“Many NBA stars are hookah heads, surprising as this may sound. They are up later than you and occasionally require a more relaxing social activity.”
These are distinct insights you don’t often get in a traditional NBA book; based on this My Summer Lair conversation it’s clear Ethan passionately thinks about these things. If you have a chance check out the book. You’ll dig it.
This is my second Oakland NBA writer interview having interviewed The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson for his Kevin Durant book: KD: Kevin Durant’s Relentless Pursuit to Be the Greatest. Both sports writers contemplate the broader culture when they write: they see patterns and gauge impacts. They’re telling you an NBA story but the NBA is just an analogy. Ethan’s book is clearly about “The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty.” So you’d pick up this book thinking it’s about the NBA and the Warriors and Curry and KD blah blah blah. Yet as you see from those 3 observations: “Most sports books are celebratory in nature, but this one dwells on the sadness that comes with success.”
That’s no longer an NBA story per se that’s something far more compelling and honest.
It’s a damn good book; it helps if you’re into the NBA but even if you’re not it’s worth the wrestle and trying to understand what success means for you…what success looks like for you. That’s the journey Kevin Durant and the Warriors are on: which makes their team name so apt.
Host Sammy Younan
Recorded: Tuesday April 28, 2020 at 4:30 pm
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