In preparation for tomorrow's first semi-finals game between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder, allow me to wax on for a few moments about one of the most enjoyable things the NBA has to offer these days: Kevin Durant's smile.
Kevin Durant is an MVP, All-Star, by all accounts a really nice guy, and a man of many talents (fun fact: he's one of the official photographers for The Player's Tribune). He loves his mom, gives back to his community, and respects his fellow players. He respects the game.
That all of these accomplishments and attributes exist in one man is pretty awesome, and as far as I'm concerned, they coalesce and beam to the outside world through the cheery force of KD's adorable, not-over-the-top-huge smile.
The smile that has officially, as long as you consider this blog official, won the most important award that does not exist anywhere but my mind: Best Smile in the NBA.
Just look at that smile.
When Kevin Durant smiles, an angel gets its wings.
Who could even come close to beating KD out for this non-existent award? Let's look at his closest runner-ups in the fight for MVP 2016. LeBron has a great smile, sure. But he's old news (though I would be cool with the Cavs winning the championship--Cleveland needs a win). Kawhi Leonard can't smile, I'm pretty sure. Like, his mouth just doesn't make that shape. When Russell Westbrook smiles, he looks like a kid on school picture day whose mom made him wear a Polo shirt that's two sizes too small. And Stephen Curry's smile is just a liiittle too cocky (though that cockiness is 100% warranted).
KD's smile is one of pure, unbridled joy. It's not showboat-y. It's the kind of smile that feels like it just can't help its' existence, like when you get the giggles during a meeting at work and you just can't stop laughing. When Kevin Durant smiles, you feel like he couldn't stop that smile from appearing on his face if he wanted to. Nor would you want him to. He's just THAT happy during that moment.
And when he's not smiling, he looks like he's got Some Shit on his mind. His eyes are sad like, 80% of the time (sometimes even when he's smiling). He's a serious guy (educated guess, that is). With KD, the difference between how happy he looks when he's smiling and how sad he looks when he's not is a mile wide. So his smiles are automatically given more weight in my very official and specific metric* for picking the Best Smile in the NBA winner because of that differential.
That's why Kevin Durant is getting the first annual Best Smile in the NBA award. That's why I'm rooting for the Thunder to beat the Warriors, head to the finals, and claim the #1 spot for 2016 (even though I am also in awe of Steph Curry and typically root for him and the GSW, too).
Because when Kevin Durant smiles, we all smile.
*My eyes. My eyes are the only metric I used here.