I had this whole thing written out about why it’s okay for Thunder fans to be mad at Durant for going to Golden State. I thought it was pretty good, made some solid points. One was how gross it can be when a bunch of people tell a fan base that their feelings are wrong. Talked about the nature of sports, how a crucial part of them is people caring (usually too much). It’s what makes it fun. I scrapped it all, though. It felt unoriginal, regurgitated.
I’ve no idea what Durant is thinking. I don’t have to guess—nobody ever has to guess—but if I wanted to I would imagine he hopes very badly they win, because imagine if the Thunder did. Durant’s complex. He’s made absolutely sure we know that. Westbrook takes less imagination. He’s mad. He’ll stay that way. The man could step into hell and say, “I thought it would be hotter” and I wouldn’t be surprised. I might even believe him. All this talking Durant has been doing lately feels something like desperation. He’s thirsty for love. I’m being part of the problem.
The whole idea of these pieces is that they’re supposed to be written from the perspective of a fan. I try to walk the line as best I can. I don’t want to seem unreasonable, childish, blind. I try not to let emotions enter into things all that much. Here, though, I can’t really help it.
This game’s going to be so weird. I don’t think it’s set in just how strange it will be. The Warriors and Thunder switch a fair amount on defense. There will absolutely be multiple moments throughout the game where one finds himself guarding the other. I don’t know how I’ll respond then. Involuntarily weeping is on the table. So are recliners being thrown through windows. I could see going Jacob on myself, tearing all my garments, standing in the middle of my living room breathing heavy, holding a Coors to my head, tattered bits of Levi’s and Kirkland brand white T-shirt all around me.
There’s also another emotion at play, though. It’s something like ecstasy. Durant’s still a behemoth. Anger over his decision hasn’t changed that. And Russ is, like, Russ. He’s more Russ than ever before. He’s at his Russest. That moves the needle. A promo for this game is easy:
Russ walking in slow motion dressed in Thunder gear, Durant doing the same as a Warrior, a shot of them celebrating together in the past, back when the world made sense, now Durant’s screaming in a Warriors jersey, Russ shrieking in Thunder blue. Probably close with all caps like a prize fight promo or every pre-debate 2016 election ad. DURANT. WESTBROOK. Some type of final word, or phrase. THIS. IS. WEIRD. Then those flickering shots of each of them. Back and forth. One every half second. Durant then Westbrook then Durant then Westbrook—the music is rising—Durant then Westbrook then Durant then Westbrook—and the music dies. SPORTS. DO. NOT. CARE. ABOUT. YOU.
This is two monsters meeting who are not at peace. The last nine years were real. The last nine years were real. I think if the Thunder win tonight the Warriors should be embarrassed. It’s calming to know that Russ will use every arrow. He always does. The first shot Durant hits will feel like someone stomping on my tear ducts, coaxing cries out of me. These sentences aren’t really flowing. The last nine years were real. I still have a pair of Durant shorts. I just remembered that. I’ve been meaning to get rid of them. I’ll do that before tonight. The last nine years were real. If Westbrook catches Durant sleeping and puts one on his head, California may just up and break off into the Pacific. It’ll take the Internet with it. The last nine years were real. I am cleaning my whole apartment today. It will be spotless, clear, pure. I refuse to allow dust to enter into tonight‘a proceedings. I’m not interested in what they did together anymore. I don’t know how, but it feels like a long time ago.