Kevin Durant just can’t let bygones by bygones.
As Durant prepares for a new NBA destination in the Brooklyn Nets, he looked back at his previous stops — most notably, the Oklahoma City Thunder — during a recent interview with J.R. Moehringer of WSJ Magazine.
Instead of mainly looking ahead to his next challenge in Brooklyn, the two-time NBA champion felt compelled to address his exit from the Thunder — while blasting the fan base and going on record as saying that he’ll never return there.
“Such a venomous toxic feeling when I walked into that arena,” Durant told J.R. Moehringer of WSJ. Magazine. “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?”
During the interview, Durant also makes it pretty clear that a return to OKC is out of the picture. Via a transcript from Curtis Fitzpatrick of Oklahoma City FOX 25:
Durant is of course referring to his exit from Oklahoma City to sign with the Golden State Warriors in the summer of 2016. Prior to his exit, the veteran small forward had a clean image throughout Oklahoma City and the NBA. In fact, Russell Westbrook was often seen as the “bad guy” and the reason for the Thunder’s shortcomings in the playoffs during their tenure.
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Kevin Durant Became Hated in Oklahoma City
However, once Durant left the Thunder to sign with the team they had lost to in seven games in the previous season’s Western Conference Finals, he became the most hated player in the league.
We all know how much venom Thunder fans spewed at Durant during his visits back to the city. Whether it was that stupid “cupcake” nickname or all of the boos rained on Durant every time he returned to the city, you could feel the hatred from Durant’s former home crowd.
While Durant isn’t exactly false in his narrative, it’s questionable why he would even touch upon that topic. He’s currently going through rehab for a torn Achilles suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals — an injury that will sideline him for the entirety of the upcoming season.
Furthermore, let’s be clear — Durant got the better end of that exchange. Although he was the NBA’s biggest villain over the past three years, he won two titles and two Finals MVP’s as the best player on the Warriors. Meanwhile, the Thunder were eliminated in three consecutive postseasons by way of the first round.
Over the offseason, Oklahoma City completely rebuilt its organization as they traded franchise stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George. The Thunder aren’t going to be contending anytime soon.
Don’t Expect a Thunder Reunion in the Near Future
Regardless of your opinion of Durant, he’s the best player in franchise history. It is a bit sad to see that he holds such a disdain for Oklahoma City — especially now that he’s in Brooklyn. While it wasn’t entirely fair to see how the fan base turned their backs on him, you have to understand — he joined the best team in the NBA just a month after they had come back from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Thunder.
What did he expect?
Time heals all wounds. If Durant wouldn’t be so bitter about the break-up — a break-up that he created, by the way — both sides likely would have moved on moving forward. Especially considering Durant is now playing out East for the Nets and the Thunder no longer have any players remaining from Durant’s tenure in Oklahoma City.
But hey, Durant is a special type of cat. He definitely doesn’t forget anything — and he definitely remains bitter about everything that transpired in Oklahoma City.
Don’t expect to see that No. 35 jersey retired at Chesapeake Energy Arena any time soon.