NBA Social Recap, Playoffs Week 8: Emotional Exits For Kevin Durant, Tony Parker
June is always a dramatic time of year in the basketball world, with the NBA Finals seizing center stage ahead of the annual draft. This week, though, was particularly powerful, even by those lofty standards. Between Tony Parker’s career news and Kevin Durant’s cruel twist of fate, there was plenty to keep hoops heads spellbound on Twitter and Instagram. Here, then, are the five best posts from Week 8 of the playoffs, starting with No. 5.
5) Zaza Pachulia Reunites with Detroit Pistons in Italy
While the basketball world was fixated on a dramatic NBA Finals between the Warriors and Raptors, Zaza Pachulia took part of a hoops celebration of his own halfway across the globe. The Georgian giant joined Detroit Pistons teammates Jose Calderon and Langston Galloway for a fun meal in Milan, where they are for the NBPA's third annual International Business Academy. It’s just the latest proof that basketball truly is a brotherhood.
4) Festus Ezeli, Bismack Biyombo Go Back and Forth During Game 5
Three years ago, Festus Ezeli and Bismack Biyombo were key role players for the Warriors and Raptors, respectively. On Monday night, the two African-born big men were friendly combatants on Twitter as they cheered on their old squads. Their back-and-forth on social media perfectly mirrored the gut-wrenching fourth quarter of Golden State’s 106-105 win in Toronto, and gave voice to the countless fans at home who watched with bated breath.
3) Dwyane Wade Keeps It Real on Kevin Durant
Sadly, the biggest story from Game 5 was Kevin Durant’s early exit on account of an Achilles injury. With voices of all kinds flying around on Twitter, Dwyane Wade did his part to cut through the noise from the player’s perspective. As the Miami Heat legend noted, the decision for KD to come back stemmed, to some extent, from the superstar’s desire to be there for his team in its time of need on the sport’s grandest stage.
2) Kevin Durant Speaks Out After Achilles Injury
Kevin, though, didn’t simply sit back and let everyone else tell his story. After exiting Scotiabank Arena, the two-time Finals MVP hopped on Instagram to share an emotional message with his followers. While KD admitted to the pain in his soul (and his body), he lent his fire to Golden State’s fanbase and showed the world just how much he appreciated watching the Warriors pull out the win.
1) Chris Paul Congratulates Tony Parker on Retirement
The final week of the season began with a bittersweet moment beyond what went on in Canada. On Monday, Tony Parker announced that he would be retiring from the NBA, after 18 seasons filled with four championships, six All-Star appearances and one Finals MVP. Tony’s departure occasioned an outpouring of remembrances from around the league—none more poignant than Chris Paul’s appreciation of his fellow future Hall-of-Fame point guard.
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.