Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant made a blistering return to his former home as he notched an impressive 63 points at the Jamal Crawford Summer Pro-Am at Seattle Pacific University on Sunday.
24-year-old Durant, a three-time NBA scoring champion and four-time All-Star, was a firm fans favourite in Seattle after being selected by the Supersonics with the second overall pick of the 2007 draft. The Sonics later relocated to Oklahoma in 2007 and became the Thunder.
Fans went wild for their returning hero during the charity match, and he duly responded to their adulation by making 26 shots in a hugely entertaining 147-141 victory.
Temporary teammate and former Washington Huskies guard Will Conroy spoke of his awe at the raucous reception that greeted Durant on his eagerly awaited return.
"I’ve never seen anything like that," he told the Seattle Times. "Only Kevin Durant could do something like this in Seattle. Seriously.
"People wouldn’t come out like this and show this type of love for LeBron (James) or Kobe (Bryant). Not here. This just shows what he meant and what he still means to this city."
Durant himself expressed his gratitude to fans after the game. Addressing the 3,000-strong crowd, he said: "I've had a fun time here in Seattle. I miss you guys. Thank you for the warm welcome, man. I can't wait to come back. Thank you. I appreciate it."
After suffering the heartbreak of losing their beloved team six years ago, it appeared this summer as if Seattle sports fans might once again have an NBA team to cheer on during the coming seasons.
A strong consortium led my Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen reached an agreement to assume control of the ailing Sacramento Kings with the intention of moving them to Seattle, but the deal was eventually vetoed by the league's board of governors.
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