Kevin Durant spent the first eight years of his career with the Thunder and once believed Oklahoma City would always feel like home to him, but that changed in a hurry for the two-time NBA Finals MVP after the way he was treated when he signed with the Golden State Warriors.
In an interview with J.R. Moehringer of the Wall Street Journal that was published this week, Durant unloaded on the Thunder organization and fans in OKC for everything that has unfolded since he left. He said his perception of the fans changed when they went berserk over his decision to leave in free agency three years ago.
“People coming to my house and spray-painting on the for sale signs around my neighborhood,” Durant recalled. “People making videos in front of my house and burning my jerseys and calling me all types of crazy names.”
It wasn’t just the fans. Durant says the Thunder have also acted “fake” to him, and he has not maintained a positive relationship with anyone in the team’s front office since his departure.
“I’ll never be attached to that city again because of that,” Durant said. “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 s— 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.”
Fans reacted similarly when LeBron James left Cleveland the first time, but he still chose to return to the Cavaliers and deliver on his promise of bringing the franchise its first NBA title. Durant has no interest in doing the same in OKC.
In addition to the vandalism and jersey burning, Durant’s mother Wanda has also spoken about the nasty treatment she has dealt with from Thunder fans. KD is extremely close with his mom, so that is likely a factor as well.
Durant has a tendency to hold grudges and can be very thin-skinned, so it’s no surprise he wants nothing to do with Oklahoma City. Fans can be irrational, but Durant isn’t the type of guy to overlook being disrespected.
The Oklahoma City Thunder used their first-round pick on a pro-Kevin Durant Golden State Warriors fan.
The Thunder made Terrance Ferguson, a 19-year-old swingman who opted to pass on college and play professionally in Australia for a year, the No. 21 overall pick. It seemed like a solid choice for Oklahoma City — a young, quick wing player with a quality shot.
That is until, in what is becoming a draft night tradition, some of Ferguson’s old tweets surfaced.
The NBA is reportedly investigating an incident that took place between Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley and an Oklahoma City Thunder fan Friday night.
Multiple sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that the league is reviewing footage from television broadcasts and the arena itself to figure out what happened. Beverley will also be interviewed by the NBA.
Little is known about the alleged incident, but a Chesapeake Energy Arena spokesperson said there had been an incident immediately following the game. A few images emerged, but offered little in the way of conclusive evidence regarding what took place.
Beverley does occasionally get involved in things like this, albeit not with fans. The league has zero tolerance for player-fan conflicts, so if anything did happen, Beverley will likely be disciplined for it.
Kevin Durant’s mother thinks Oklahoma City fans crossed the line with their behavior on Saturday night.
Wanda Durant told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that she was hurt by some of what she heard from Thunder fans during Golden State’s 130-114 win on Saturday night.
“The most vicious things you could say, they said about my son tonight. It’s hurtful,” Durant said. “We poured our heart into this place. Not just him. Our family. This is basketball. This is not whether or not you’re going to make it into heaven.
“They called him a snake, a sellout, a b—-,” she added. “It’s just a sad day. I understand that they loved him. I do understand it. But the name-calling. The people with the cupcakes on their backs. … It didn’t have to be like this.”
Wanda Durant added that she has been looked at differently in her trips back to Oklahoma City.
“This is not the first time I’ve been back since Kevin left,” she said. “This is maybe my fourth or fifth time. Every time that I’ve been back, people seem like they are afraid to say something nice to me. People will whisper, ‘There’s his mom. Ooooooh!’
“There are people who tell me they still love him. But then you have the people who shot his jersey up. My son poured his heart and soul into this place for eight years, and for them to treat him like this because he decided to go someplace else to play is really tough.”
Most of what was seen on broadcasts of the game was fairly innocuous, but perhaps Durant heard things in the arena that the television audience was not privy to. Whatever the case, it seems to have deeply upset her.
Kevin Durant made his long-awaited return to Oklahoma City on Saturday night, but he wasn’t the only Golden State Warriors player who was taunted by Thunder fans. Just ask Draymond Green.
Thunder superfan Rich Taylor, aka “Big Rich,” was seated behind Golden State’s bench during the Thunder’s 130-114 loss. At one point, he got into it with Draymond Green and police stepped in. Taylor was also spoken to by Durant and Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
When asked about the exchange, Green said he doesn’t mind fans heckling but indicated Taylor was being racist.
Taylor, a local bar owner who was wearing a shirt that said “KOWARD” with the “K” and “D” highlighted, admitted he was hurling insults toward Durant and his teammates but insists he kept it PG.
We all knew Durant’s return to Oklahoma City for the first time as a visiting player would not be drama-free, and Durant himself hinted that he expected more. From the way it seems, Durant kept his composure better than Green. That’s not exactly shocking.
Oklahoma City Thunder fans booed Kevin Durant as expected upon his return to face his former team on Saturday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. They also brought plenty of posters and shirts to troll their former MVP.
Most of the posters and shirts had a similar theme of ripping Durant for leaving the Thunder franchise to join the rival Golden State Warriors, who knocked them out of the Western Conference playoffs last season.
Here’s a roundup of the best posters:
The negative feelings toward Kevin Durant run deep in certain parts of Oklahoma.
How deep? Well, did you know there is a town called Durant in Oklahoma? And did you know that a resident of the state is now petitioning to change the name of that town?
Edmond, Oklahoma resident Ryan Nazari started a petition asking the Governor of Oklahoma to change the name of Durant to Westbrook to celebrate the newly-committed guard.
“As many of you know, Kevin Durant has left our state, torn out our hearts, and left our beloved Oklahoma City Thunder in depleted shape,” the petition reads. “All of this after even being offered a cabinet position for the State of Oklahoma. It is because of this heinous action that I believe the State of Oklahoma has a responsibility to change the name of the City of Durant to Westbrook, the man who is loyal, whom we believe in, and who will lead our team to glory.”
Will it happen? Probably not. Is it fun? Yes, it is, and much like this, probably a more constructive thing to do than burning jerseys.
After setting the NBA record for wins in a single season with 73, the Golden State Warriors have found themselves in the unexpected predicament of being on the brink of playoff elimination. From the sound of it, team owner Joe Lacob is not taking it all that well.
In a feature that examines the tension surrounding the Warriors at the moment, Sam Amick of USA Today Sports reported that Lacob got into it with a Thunder fan during Game 3. Things apparently escalated to the point where Lacob’s lady friend later had to make peace with the fan. Here’s more:
[The pressure] rose in the corner section of the arena where Joe Lacob sat on Sunday night, too, when the passionate Warriors owner grew so weary of one Thunder fan’s belligerent badgering during Game 3 that he just had to holler back at the burly fellow (Lacob’s fiancee, also in attendance, would later play the part of charming peacemaker with the Thunder fan heading into Game 4).
Amick didn’t go into detail about how Lacob’s fiancee smoothed things over, but typically owners and executives are able to block out the noise from paying customers.
If you remember, Lacob also got irritated during a playoff game last year with a certain celebrity who was sitting next to him. The man takes his basketball seriously, and he knows the odds are suddenly stacked against the defending champions. Nobody saw this coming.
Oklahoma City Thunder fans were so loud during their team’s Game 4 win over the San Antonio Spurs Sunday night that one player almost passed out.
Facing what was basically a must-win, the Thunder found themselves trailing by four heading into the fourth quarter. A loss would have meant allowing the Spurs to take a 3-1 series lead back to San Antonio with a chance to close things out. OKC rose to the occasion by outscoring the Spurs 34-16 in the fourth quarter.
How loud were the fans at Chesapeake Energy Arena? Steven Adams tried to describe it.
Kevin Durant, who scored a game-high 41 points, was equally impressed.
After they were blown out in Game 1, the Thunder have played much better basketball and look like they actually have a chance to knock off the heavily-favored Spurs. If you have heard the rumors about Durant’s future, you know how important this series is for OKC. The fans would be wise to continue to impress him with the noise level when the team returns home for Game 6, even if it means Adams could faint.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are probably going to beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the opening round of the playoffs, but there will be no sweep. The Grizzlies were able to grind out a tough overtime win to tie the series at 1-1 on Monday night, which has at least two Thunder fans very, very concerned.
You know how some people go to the game just to be seen and act like they are rooting for the home team? This dude and his girl clearly are not two of those people. If those looks of disappointment don’t say “I’d kill for a Thunder championship,” I don’t know what does.
If my wife ever loves me half as much as these two love the Thunder, I’ll feel really special.
GIF via @cjzero