Kevin Durant will likely be celebrated as a hero when he finally returns to play against the Warriors in San Francisco, after winning a pair of Finals MVP awards following his arrival from Oklahoma City.
Many Thunder fans still haven’t forgiven Durant for leaving the team in 2016 – and Durant has no interest in mending his relationship with the city.
In a profile published by the Wall Street Journal, Durant reflected on his messy exit from the Thunder, and the “venomous” reception he received when he returned as a member of the Warriors.
Durant spent eight seasons with the Sonics and Thunder, won a league MVP award, and led the franchise to the NBA Finals. After leaving to join a superteam, however, Thunder fans burned his jersey, review-bombed his restaurant, and trolled him with chants of “cupcake” in his first return.
Durant got a slightly friendlier reception in his second season with Golden State – but he hasn’t gotten over that first visit.
Via the Wall Street Journal:
“Such a venomous toxic feeling when I walked into that arena [after joining the Warriors]. 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?’”
Durant said he originally wanted to remain a part of the community in Oklahoma, but now has no interest in being attached to Oklahoma City.
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. 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 [expletive] 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.”
In July, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith delivered an explosive report on Durant’s exit from Oklahoma City on First Take, and said that according to his sources, Durant promised Russell Westbrook that he would not leave the Thunder the night before he met with the Warriors. According to the report, Durant eventually texted Westbrook to inform him that he was signing with Golden State. Durant responded to the claims during the show, calling them “BS.”