An overwhelming intrigue exists for people who are so good at things they become famous for it.
Growing up, virtuosos of previous generations felt like a fraternal brand on society’s skin, burned directly onto the culture’s proverbial bicep in order to be gratuitously flexed in the collective face of the next up-and-comer's, reading something to the effect of, "be what you will, but These Motherf*ckers were The Real Deal."
Kind of like how every still-alive NBA old-timer, thinks and feels and speaks about Stephen Curry.
However, there is a cost you pay for dominating whatever life-game you participate in — two unappealing inevitabilities. That is, people who achieve virtuoso-levels of good, enjoy the following diametrically opposed end-game scenarios.
1. Die young
2. Achieve immeasurable amounts of boredom
In other words, the primary indicator of real, transcendent success in a discipline or practice, is that the individual who is doing so, desperately no longer wants to.
Seriously, ask anyone who is good — like one-percenter, or ten thousand hours good — at a very particular something and ask them about that thing that they’re so good at, and if they’ve been doing it long enough, they will probably tell you that they’re actually kind of over it. There’s a reason why Shaq made Kazaam, Johnny Depp is in a band, and Rage Against the Machine made a goddamn cover album. Eventually, as an athlete or artist or whatever it is you have decided to do with your time, you become so good, or become so used to something, that that once presumed extraordinary thing you're doing is now just...normal. Your accomplishments that helped you become so interestingly unrelatable in tons of weird and sexy ways, now only pushing you in a large diameter-ed circle, placing you firmly back with the rest of humanity to share in what is perhaps the most relatable and least weird and least sexy and least interesting feeling that exists.
You are bored.
That feeling is the only way Steph Curry leaves one of the best looking team-sport situations of all time, for Charlotte, North Carolina.
"Of course everybody dreams about or thinks about what it's going to be like to play at home. Obviously, if that opportunity comes along, it's a different discussion."
That’s a real thing that Steph Curry, son of Dell, said before last season. After next season, his contract provides him the opportunity to make that dream a you-know-what. Of course, this sounds like wishful Charlotte-centric thinking, until you consider that the was just recently discussed on the most popular sports podcast in the world — The Bill Simmons Podcast.
For people of "The Decision" generation, LeBron James is the poster boy for The Homecoming. An actual prodigal son of Northeast Ohio, a place that everyone knew on an intellectual level existed, but few had actually specifically thought of — kind of like Southwest Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area — a mouthful of a place that is as real, as it is probably annoying to read. And now, it looks like Kevin Durant is now the poster boy for the Anti-Homecoming, his seeming unwillingness to go back to the District putting a palpable kibosh on the star player-homecoming narrative. But really, Durant’s situation is not at all the same.
LeBron wanted to come home to bring a championship to Northeast Ohio, having previously brought one to Southeast Florida. Mission accomplished. A virtuoso at the top of his game, feeling a bit nostalgic (a feeling by the way, you probably only get once you grow tired of your particular mountain top and say to yourself "that old one really wasn't so bad"). Kevin Durant, on the other appendage, has no Big W. The state of Oklahoma, and all it’s never before known multi-cardinal directional regions, is still, championship-less. There is no prodigal-type situation, no anything that would merit a grand KD re-entrance.
But let's say Steph and the Warriors win this year, and maybe even the next. What then? Well, legacy-related thoughts come into play. Family, and where you may want to raise your now school-age child begins to matter. Not to mention that decent looking team your Dad calls the games for — the same team you grew up shooting pre-game jumpers with.
Most of all, maybe you just want to do something different. Because perhaps success — at least in how the royal we generally think about it — is way overrated.
And listen, all of this is not to overshadow the Hornets success. The team is currently on a hell of run. However, moments of abject failure are not the only time we can look towards something better. The Hornets, a team that often does not do well, is actually, and I personally plan to dine out on that for quite awhile.
But...dreaming of Steph heading East to Southwest North Carolina?
I'll have my cake and eat it until I can no longer.