Durant: Perhaps Thunder fans could compromise

Warriors Kevin Durant Returns to Oklahoma

BY JOHN ROHDE

Feb. 10, 2017

 

Here’s what I hope will happen Saturday night during pre-game introductions when the Golden State Warriors visit the OKC Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena:

Durant receives a standing ovation as he walks through a tunnel of teammates. The public address announcer pauses to allow Durant to soak in the moment for the loudest ovation ever given to an opposing player inside The Peake. The decibel level rises each time Durant smiles and waves to the crowd as he fights back tears. The cheers slowly subside and pre-game introductions finally continue.

Here’s what I expect will happen:

A sellout crowd stands as Durant slowly walks through his tunnel of teammates. No one is able to hear the public address announcer. Though there are some cheers, they are overwhelmed by venomous boos. Durant continues to walk slowly onto the court, avoiding eye contact with the crowd and doing his best to hide his heartache. He does not smile. He does not wave. After only a slight pause, the public address announcer continues with other introductions, unable to be heard over the steady stream of boos.

It shouldn’t be this way, but it’s unavoidable given all that’s been said, written, rumored, implied, twisted and misrepresented since Durant’s decision to leave last summer. Intentionally or unintentionally, Durant ripped out the hearts of locals and, intentionally or unintentionally, he continually has stomped on those hearts ever since.

Durant’s departure from the Thunder has forever changed his legacy as a player. Rather than continuing his relentless work for a championship ring with his original team, Durant instead opted to have it gift-wrapped.

Local folk appreciate achievement that’s gained through dedication and hard work. They embrace those who refuse to surrender until that goal is reached. For eight years in OKC, Durant proved himself worthy, until he did the unthinkable and quit. Rather than finish what he started, Durant abandoned ship and latched onto a life preserver in the 73-win Golden State Warriors.

Durant said he left because he wanted a new challenge, but nowhere in the NBA is winning the championship less challenging than joining the Warriors.

How impressive it would be if Thunder fans were able to take the high ground Saturday night. Being able to rise above the fray and welcome Durant with open arms might do more to enhance this state’s reputation than anything Durant did on and off the court while he was here.

Expecting Thunder fans to not boo and instead give Durant a tear-jerking ovation understandably is asking too much. For them, this entire experience has simply been too painful.

Perhaps Thunder fans could agree to a compromise: During pre-game introductions, nothing but cheers for KD. During the game, nothing but boos. Fair enough?

Hey, Durant will understand that business is business. He is the enemy now, and he’s the one who made it so.

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3 Responses

  1. Not only no, but hell no! Why are we as fans always expected to take the high road and leave our feelings out of the equation?

    This is equivalent to seeing our ex-girlfriend, who we were committing to a lifetime of happiness together, publicly rejecting us and going off to be with a richer, more handsome version who apparently had been wooing her for some time now. And the first time we see them after that, 8 months later, we’re supposed to be happy for them and wish them a nice life. Not only no, but hell no!

  2. Judy McGuire Young

    I’m so embarrassed that OKC can’t take the high road ….seems his #1 fans, that loved him most not just for what he did on the court but for all he did for the community and the way he stayed above the fray, are the very ones that hate him most!
    As you so well said John, wouldn’t doing as you had hoped for, serve to prove that OKC fans are the best….and would only show our lost leader what a mistake he made leaving rather than confirming the righteousness of his departure.

  3. Leaving was totally his choice.
    BUT his mother used to be a struggling hourly worker. Maybe he didn’t hear her voice it back then, but like the rest of us, she probably counted days until a holiday off work.
    I know the second Memorial day passes, most people are counting down to the 4th of July. A day off work, a day with the family and friends, a day of relaxation and celebration.
    He ruined the day off (one of few), for thousands and their kids.
    Most weren’t mad until later. Most were shocked and sad.
    The expansive park we were at where people gathered as they do every year was literally almost silent.
    Sure, quit…… whatever.
    But I thought for sure that with his working mom background that he would respect our little day away from our jobs and troubles and at least wait one more day.
    One more day…… would have made less people lose respect.