We loved seeing them together, on the court, at the photoshoot, and everywhere in between. But now that’s over. That’s all over. And we may never see them together again. And that’s why OKC fans are so hurt and why they’re so mad.
IT’S BEEN SEVEN months and six days since Kevin Durant made his decision to leave town and to break camp and to get out of Dodge, err, I mean Oklahoma City. February 11, 2017 has been circled on the calendar for quite some, and for good reason.
“The Return” comes after Durant gave nine celebrated seasons to the fledgling NBA town called Oklahoma City. Before Durant, this was only college sports territory. Without objection, Durant single handedly put this franchise and this Midwestern urban oasis on the basketball map. But when free agency rolled around, he chose another suitor. So after all of the love and the laughter and the good times and the great games, he chose to ditch them for their hated and heated rival, the Golden State Warriors.
“The Oklahoma City Thunder have moved on, or so they say. Clearly, the city hasn’t moved on, at least not entirely, as aftershocks attest, like T-shirts that read like a math equation: “35-35=0”. Aka, Durant wore number 35 while playing for the Thunder, and his departure, meaning No. 35 – No. 35, equals Russell Westbrook’s Number: “0.”
In addition, the occasional No. 35 jersey with Durant’s name changed or crossed off — still reverberate around town from time to time. As much as there’s celebration and appreciation for Russell Westbrook’s historic run, a trail of smoke lingers.
The two haven’t spoken since Durant left, and probably won’t for some time. Betray Westbrook’s trust and you’re dead to him for a lifetime, whether you’re a reporter, a coach, a friend or a teammate.
Westbrook’s remarkable, historic season has transformed what was expected to be a year of mourning into one of excitement and passion. He has sopped up the sadness, keeping the words “Kevin Durant” mostly out of the mouths of Thunder fans.” Royce Young, ESPN Staff Writer
So what will the reception be like tonight at Chesapeake Arena when Durant steps onto the floor in the house that he built? People are human, and when we are let down and feel betrayed or begrudged, for whatever reason, we hold it against and hold fast onto hurt feelings and let go of any goodwill that may have been generated or said or done.
So while I understand how OKC fans feel, I’m still a Durant fan. And if you’re a sports fan, you should be too. Durant’s leaving opened the door for Westbrook’s appearing. Westbrook’s wonderful, delightful, breathtaking season full of triple doubles and double downs (on him) and his single handedly picking up where Durant left off is a sports spectacle like none other. And they have an anticipated playoff run.
So go ahead OKC fans; go ahead and boo KD tonight. Go ahead and get it out of your system. Any and all sports fans the world over were let down when the one we loved left town. We’ve all been disappointed and disillusioned by a professional athlete or a sports team or two.
Sports are like life, and life is like sports. We’ve all be let down by a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a good friend or a relative or a boss or too. Welcome to club. Now all you have to do is get over it. The rest of us did, and you can too.