What do Kevin Durant's girlfriend, Santa Claus, Russell Westbrook's girlfriend, and the Easter Bunny have in common?
As far as we can tell... none of them exist. Just like James Harden's girlfriend and Serge Ibaka's girlfriend, who also don't exist.
While it's entirely possible that Kevin Durant's girlfriend does exist and KD is just hiding her from the public spotlight, we've yet to hear, see or read anything that suggests he is romantically linked with anyone. Likewise with most of the rest of the Thunder players. Peruse the rest of the Thunder's roster, and one common trait becomes abundantly clear.
This is a team of guys unencumbered by the rigmarole of dating, girlfriends and married life.
We were all Witness to Kevin Durant hugging his mom after his monster 39 point performance in the clinching game 7 of the 2011 playoffs 2nd round against the Grizzlies. From the camera shots, it was apparent that Kevin's sideline entourage consists of one person: Kevin Durant's mother. No groupie, no road beef (yes, I know they were at home), no girlfriend, no wife... Nope, just moms.
The only player on the Thunder who is getting significant minutes and also has a wife is midseason acquisition Kendrick Perkins. Perk came from a team where everyone had a familial life off the court. Living in Boston, you hear a lot that while this team works their ass off in the gym, when the work is done, they all head home to be with their wives and kids.
For the Thunder? Not so much.
Look, we're not so naive to actually make the argument that a players marital status is actually an indicator of their level of skill or success, but could it be that this Thunder team is as good as they are because they are all a bunch of single guys? Yes, they are all young, and I'm sure there will eventually be a post starting with "Kevin Durant's wife ______," or "Russell Westbrook's wife ______" and probably even "James Harden's wife ____" and "Serge Ibaka's wife ____."
Right now this is a team that loves playing basketball together, and hanging out off the court as well. Following a loss to the Grizzlies in game 1 of round 2, Kendrick Perkins told Kevin Durant to hold a team meeting to watch game film. KD did him one better, having a players-only dinner where everyone could watch film and figure out what they needed to do to be more successful in game 2. The team gathered for hours, and feasted on a huge spread put out by Durant's personal chef, while watching film to figure out what went wrong.
I doubt the Heat, Bulls, or Mavs have time off the floor for that.
We can take this a step further and make the same argument that the Thunder's second round opponent, the Memphis Grizzlies, are young, hungry, and of the same ilk. Who is Zach Randolph's girlfriend , Mike Conley's girlfriend, Marc Gasol's girlfriend, or Tony Allen's girlfriend? Right now, it's certainly not a public figure, and our best bet is that their closest relationships in Memphis are with one another. Like the Thunder, the only player on the Grizz getting significant minutes, who has a wife, is midseason acquisition, Shane Battier. Talent weighs heavily in a game between the lines, and clearly chemistry plays a huge part for a young team. That squad played longer than any pundit expected them to, in large part because of their continuity and chemistry. That bond is developed on and off the floor.
The Thunder are a very young team, with an immense amount of talent and a promising future. This is a team chronicled in Sports Illustrated to talk about how much they love hanging out together. Their chemistry on and off the court is unmatched (except maybe by the Grizzlies).
Maybe, just maybe, being girlfriend and wife free is the cause of their chemistry. Maybe the fact that Kevin Durant's wife, Russell Westbrook's wife and James Harden's wife all don't exist is the reason they're still playing.