OKC Fans and Kevin Durant
With the start of the regular season looming, Oklahoma City Thunder fans are left wondering who can we count on now? With the departure of 29-year old franchise player Kevin Durant, many in Oklahoma City are still in disbelief that the seven time NBA All-Star jumped ship and headed to the Bay Area to join forces with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Hopes for a championship rested squarely on the shoulders of Durant who had previously been a consistent contributor to the franchise since it’s move from Seattle back in 2008 but a disappointing collapse in the playoffs last season left the Washington, DC native questioning the team’s potential to win a championship, the one accolade that has eluded him in his professional career.
Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban pegged the small forward a ‘villain,’ following the unpopular announcement that the Washington, DC native had decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors in the off-season, a label that has reverberated through the league and resonated deeply with Oklahoma City Thunder fans. So many in the 405 took to the internet to vehemently lash out at the star the day he announced he was leaving the Thunder to sign with the Warriors in the off-season, even going so far as to bash his Oklahoma City based restaurant “KDs” on Yelp, the popular crowd-sourced review site. Despite a middle of the road three-star rating, Norman, Oklahoma based fan Sheppard M. expressed his disgust for Durant’s decision to leave the Thunder, “Much like his game it was overpriced and flashy. But at the end of the day it was average. Lots of little wins but no big moment on the menu,” he wrote on the site and Spokane, Washington fan Travis M. kept the low blows coming, writing “If I was a waiter at KD’s I wouldn’t even show up at work because you’re gonna be out of a job when this place goes out of business in about a week.” Ouch.
Despite an impressive pre-season showing, many aren’t convinced that Durant made the right decision and will translate this move into a championship. The Mercury News, Warriors beat writer Anthony Slater recently tweeted, “Kevin Durant is trying to adjust to life with the Warriors while quietly separating from his past with the Thunder.” I have to agree with Slater here, at the end of the day professional basketball is a business; Durant made a business decision when he decided to leave the Thunder, a team he’d loyally played for – for eight seasons. The 29-year-old knows his game is in its prime now and his best chance for a ring isn’t in Oklahoma City, it’s in the Bay Area.
So where do we go from here? (For Oklahoma City fans) Well, first stop crucifying Durant and instead thank him for his long tenure and contributions. Second, direct your frustration and blame to The Professional Basketball Club, LLC, which owns the team and has failed to attract and retain the caliber of talent necessary to complement franchise players like Durant. In this situation it is the front office, not the player, at fault for this move.
Kevin, congratulations on making a meaningful career move that was predicated on achieving a goal. This too shall pass; fans think with their hearts, they simply do not consider the best interest of the player and their career in their rash outpourings of emotion. You’ve done well thus far in the pre-season and I, for one, cannot wait to see how well you perform in the regular season. Keep up the amazing work!