A Storytelling Lesson From The NBA Playoffs

I love basketball almost as much as I love storytelling. Luckily for me, today they will come together.

We are in the middle of the NBA playoffs and without question the single best player so far in the playoffs has been Kevin Durant. He is averaging over 30 points per game.

And it’s not only this year. Durant has been the best player in the playoffs the last three years.

In fact, in his entire playoff career he has averaged over 29 points a game which has only been outdone by Michael Jordan & Jerry West.

The interesting thing to me is that for all of his greatness, he is still disliked and discounted by a large percentage of NBA fans. And I think the reason is a lesson in storytelling.

I teach audiences that a great story follows a model of struggle to solution. You hook people with the struggle & you help them with the solution. When it is your own story the struggle makes you relatable & the solution makes you credible.
So here is the problem. Kevin Durant’s story is missing the struggle. He was a star from day one in Oklahoma City & after 9 years he left OKC to join the Golden State Warriors who had just won the most games in NBA history.

Dan Devine of The Ringer said it feels like Kevin Durant finished college and got a seven-figure job right after school followed by promotion after promotion.

The takeaway is the struggles make you human. Which make you relatable. Which make you likeable. Which makes you influential.

For the record, I’m a fan of Kevin Durant. He’s remarkable as a basketball player. But I get the angst – a story should be struggle to solution.


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