When LeBron returned to Cleveland for the first time after taking his talents to South Beach, the anticipation of what could happen was at high levels. Of course, Cavs' fans wished for a victory but it was the Lebron show for the most part, and understandably so, he was on the better team.
Kevin Durant, whose decision to leave OKC reminded us of LeBron's 2010 decision, was in that same position Saturday night. In Durant's mind, he thought the fans would show him some appreciation for his eight years of service on and off the court.
Of course, that wasn't the case.
KD and the Warriors walked out of Chesapeake Arena with a 16-point victory but the night was filled with KD slander from the fans and the Thunder players. He was called a cupcake, he was booed, he was called a pu**y boy, a snake, anything you can think of, KD heard it while dropping 36 points.
Even leading up to the game Oklahoma City was doing everything they could to remind KD that he is no longer welcomed. A steakhouse owner denied KD's request to rent out his restaurant after Saturday's game, wanting to stay "true" to the fans and Thunder players who often dine in at the restaurant. KD did dine in at the popular OKC steakhouse, even with Westbrook in attendance (the two did not interact) but he did could not rent out the place.
This is another example of how sports is deeper than what it is on the surface. A lot of people want to criticize the OKC fans but a lot of them don't look at it from their point of view. Kevin Durant's decision was betrayal and nothing short of it. It was betrayal in the sense that he sided with an organization that ended a city's dream of a trip back to the NBA Finals. Betrayal in the sense that he left Westbrook with no answers or options. That betrayal is why he has been called a snake, "koward", cupcake, and everything else.
KD made a decision that was best for him and nothing is wrong with that. He was a free agent and the collective bargaining agreement allows him to pick any team that can afford him. The problem with his decision to join the Warriors is that it was solely about him. He didn't consider the effect it would have on the fans of OKC, fans that he loved. He didn't consider the potential fallout he and his teammate of nine years could have, a person who he considers his brother. And if he did consider those things, he decided that they weren't that important.
KD's mother voiced her disappointment in the treatment OKC was giving her son, but what did she expect? Fans are going to heckle the opposing team, it's a part of the game. KD is officially a part of the opposing team. KD didn't just go to another team, he went to the dark side. What people tend to overlook about fans is they invest more than money into their teams and players. OKC has been one of the best basketball cities in the NBA. This isn't just a team they like, this is a team that represents their home, where they are from. Cities like OKC that have one professional sports team are more invested emotionally. That's why you see parades when a team win's a title or you see people crying in the stands after a tough loss. Those emotions run deep and are the driving force behind the billion dollar industry that is pro sports. KD joining the Warriors was a slap in the face not only to the franchise but to Oklahoma city.
I don't have an issue with the treatment KD has been receiving. He made a decision to better his situation but that doesn't mean it will come without backlash. I think KD shouldn't worry about what Oklahoma City thinks about him, whether or not he and Russell Westbrook will be friends again because he didn't think about that when he decided to join the Warriors.