Despite Golden State’s tenacious victory over the Toronto Raptors on the road, in an elimination-worthy Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Kevin Durant stole the show. Or, or, or, the fans of Toronto stole the show after Durant went down with an Achilles injury. Toronto fans are known to be intense but fun. Unless your name is Drake, fans don’t typically jump out of line, but that narrative came crashing down on Monday night.
To keep a long story short, when Durant hit the floor with just under 10 minutes to play in the second quarter, Raptors fans applauded, which is wrong, but not off the beaten track of your typical ‘trash’ fan. It was despicable, and I, myself, was very vocal about the fan’s behavior, but let’s not act like we’re surprised by it.
Just like society, some sports fans are wack. Keyword: some. Not all, so it’s just not fair to be down on an entire fanbase. We can look at other fanbases and say the same thing. A couple of instances with the Utah Jazz this season, the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, and heck, one of the minority owners of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals even displayed some taboo words or actions towards a player this season, and surely there were more instances that didn’t catch the eye (or the ear) of national media.
The point is, the word fan is short for fanatic and sometimes NBA fanatics get so wrapped up in the heat of the moment that they react unreasonably. The mix of raw emotion and alcohol has proven to be very perilous at times and that’s what we saw on Monday night.
Is your fanbase any different? Thinking of a few of the most intense NBA arenas (Utah, OKC, Boston, Portland, Golden State, Houston, etc.), I’m positive that there are plenty of bad apples out there in each fanbase that given the same situation, may have done the same thing.
It’s definitely understandable feeling like your fanbase is ‘better’ than others. I can be biased when it comes to Oklahoma City fans. I was born and raised in the 405. I think they are the most passionate fans in the NBA, but that can also be a downfall too. With extreme passion comes a chunk of unreasonable folks. On Monday night, a big portion of Toronto fans were unreasonable in their response to Kevin Durant going down.
The reaction was cringe-worthy initially, but the fans giving him a standing ovation and chanting his name as he was helped off the court was more like it. It’s a tough topic to argue about, but I’m going to try to make this more understandable for you before deciding to dismiss a single fanbase because of something like this.
The reaction to the scene that was Durant re-injuring his Achilles was in the heat of the moment and improved over time. But the tougher, and the more controversial question will challenge one’s true feelings and true intentions versus perception and appearance. Is being silently grateful for a key player’s misfortune any different? Because most fans do feel that way, especially when a historic franchise championship is on the line. Do you care more about true feelings and intentions surrounding a situation or the outside perception of your reaction to that situation?
For immediate evidence, there were a HEALTHY amount of Thunder fans, still salty about Offseason ’16’s happenings, that were celebrating KD’s injury.
What this embarrassing moment taught us, is that Toronto fans are the same as us. They are no better and no worse. Sports fanatics have a lot in common, both good and bad, but there isn’t much of a difference from franchise-to-franchise.
Hold your fellow fans accountable, and when you notice someone being a bit too unruly call them out on it. That’s all you can do because idiots will always be prevalent in sports but maybe one day, there will be more balance between mankind, alcohol, and tactfulness at sporting events.