At his first game in Oklahoma City as a visitor—February 2017—fans yowled for blood and brandished cupcakes, because Durant was supposedly soft. “Such a venomous toxic feeling when I walked into that arena,” he says. “And just the organization, the trainers and equipment managers, those dudes is pissed off at me? Ain’t talking to me? I’m like, Yo, this is where we going with this? Because I left a team and went to play with another team?”
His mother recalls one particularly appalling piece of video: a Thunder fan firing bullets into a No. 35 jersey. Bullets—after she and Durant and half his extended family relocated to Oklahoma, after they embraced the community, after Durant gave a million dollars to tornado victims.
“I’ll never be attached to that city again because of that,” Durant says. “I eventually wanted to come back to that city and be part of that community and organization, but I don’t trust nobody there. That shit must have been fake, what they was doing. The organization, the GM, I ain’t talked to none of those people, even had a nice exchange with those people, since I left.”
If this sounds like old news, that’s because it is. If you thought Thunder fans were a little too harsh towards Kevin Durant and his family in their return to OKC, you’re correct.
But Durant was naïve to think his decision to leave wouldn’t impact the Thunder fanbase. Is he really surprised that Thunder fans resent(ed) him? Reporters are going to ask the questions. Durant can’t control that. What he can control is what he says about the situation to the media. It’d be a lie to say there isn’t still resentment towards Durant and his decision, but for the most part, OKC has moved on. Tempers only flare when the topic comes back up. Usually, the topic stays dormant until Durant brings it back up. So who really needs to get over the situation?
Durant owes OKC nothing. He’s donated millions, he brought the franchise to national prominence and he’s fulfilled every contractual agreement while a member of the Thunder. The only negative mark on his resume is the move to Golden State, which depending on the person, may not be deemed as wrong either. Durant has won ‘the situation’ in almost every way. He ultimately went to a better situation in Golden State, he won two titles, Finals MVP’s, and the Thunder franchise has been on a steady decline performance-wise since his departure.
As for the fans and Thunder employees who build up an attachment for Durant during his time in OKC, there’s nothing wrong to loathe Durant after the move. Considering the competitive nature of sports it’s almost warranted. There are exceptions, though. There are lines that fans shouldn’t cross. The violent threats, racist remarks, and defacing of his property, unacceptable.
I’m like, yo, this is where we going with this? Because I left a team and went to play with another team?”
This statement by Durant is very indicative that he didn’t, and still doesn’t understand what he meant to Oklahoma City and that pretty much sums up why he’s still, more than three years later confused as to why there was such an uproar after his departure.
This is yet another bump in the road for the reparation of Durant and OKC’s relationship, and it may postpone any plans the Thunder had for retiring his jersey, but time is the answer and eventually, both sides will forgive and appreciate what each did for the other.