“I’m one of those guys that would love to stick it out with one team my whole career.”
“[I want to be a] Kobe, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki type of dude.”
“I love it here and I would love to get my jersey retired here.”
“I love my teammates, I love the city, I don’t really think about anywhere else.”
“I think of myself as a small-town kid”
“I liked the small-town vibe. But it was a ghost town. The downtown wasn’t really a downtown. I don’t remember a single tall building. Now I look at that building and it’s a beacon, reminding me what we came from.”
These are all real quotes from Kevin Durant. When he decided to leave it wasn’t just the decision to leave that people were upset about, it was everything leading up to it. Kevin can make whatever choice he wants, no one should debate that. The fact is when you feed your team and fanbase all these messages that say “I love it here. Don’t worry this is where I want to be”, and then leave… well that hurts. He didn’t have to say those things. Thunder fans would have rooted for him and loved him anyway. But he did say them, and the Thunder fanbase heard every word and took it to heart.
Betrayal feels like a strong word in this circumstance… this is just a game right? But sports are irrational at the core. Thousands of people gathering in a building to watch people they don’t know personally trying to throw a ball in a hoop… not a rational thing. Fandom. Also not rational. So the argument that people should:
A) Step back
B) Think about what Kevin has done for OKC
C) Understand that he has done nothing wrong
That is too rational folks. This is professional sports. It’s okay to feel irrational about Kevin Durant and his return to OKC. It’s okay to let your feelings of frustration and hurt out on Saturday night. After all, Kevin not only left the Oklahoma City Thunder, he also led the fanbase on for years. He also left to join what should have been the Thunder’s biggest rival for years to come. He eliminated the competition out West. He wants to win, which is understandable… but this way? It’s okay to think it’s wrong. He did something most players of his caliber wouldn’t do. Most players of his caliber wouldn’t take on the “If you can’t beat them, join them” mantra. Be mad. It’s okay.
Kevin is now saying that the media has fabricated the beef between he and Westbrook. Does he operate in reality? He left the Thunder and Westbrook to join the team that just beat them in the Western Conference Finals and sent him a text to tell him? Did the media tell him to do that? Did the media tell him to ride the coattails of a 73-win team to a championship completely eliminating the possibility of a championship for Westbrook and OKC? Did the media tell Westbrook to ignore the presence of Durant in the two prior games in Oakland?
Durant strangely continues to play victim. Storylines of how miserable things were for Kevin in OKC continue to emerge. Announcers point out open shots he gets and say “That’s why he came to Golden State!”…. Really? Was his team that bad?
- 7x NBA All Star
- 5x All NBA First Team
- 4x NBA Scoring Champion
- Rookie of the Year
- 1 NBA Finals appearance
- 4 Western Conference Finals
He did all of this with the Thunder. You don’t have all this success with a bad team. No doubt Durant is a once in a generation player, but to rewrite history like he was in NBA purgatory is just not right.
When Kevin Durant returns on Saturday, February 11, 2017 Thunder fans should be furious with him. They should boo. They should let him understand that his decision to leave was not just a one-time in-the-moment decision. It was a decision that unravelled a special relationship between an NBA superstar and an entire fanbase. A relationship that he chose to strengthen with every word of devotion to Oklahoma City and the Thunder franchise. Thunder fans that thought he was going to be a “Kobe, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki type of dude.” Durant’s words, not Thunder fan’s.
Chesapeake Arena will be loud on Saturday. It should be filled with cupcake signs. There should be massive amounts of boos and yells at Durant, but there should also be an equal amount of praise and cheering for Westbrook. This should be a cathartic night for the fans in OKC. Let it all out.