It’s been well over a year since Kevin Durant announced his intentions to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder in favour of a move to the Golden State Warriors, but there is still a selection of Thunder which still holds animosity towards him.
The small forward has played in Oklahoma City only once since he made his controversial decision last season, and on that occasion, he didn’t exactly receive a loving return. Fans greeted him with a chorus of boos as well as cupcake signs.
After the game, Durant admitted that playing against the Thunder was “never going to be a regular game” for him because of his history with the team. However, one year on, he appears to have had a change of tune.
The 2017 NBA Champion has been listed as questionable for the Warriors’ game against the Thunder tonight in Oklahoma City, but now he feels playing against his former team is just another game to him.
According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, he told reporters after Tuesday’s practice, which he participated in fully: “Just a regular game for me now. I learned how to tune out the crowd.
“I learned how to tune out the bulls— and just play. … I know if I don’t focus and lock in, I won’t play to the best of my abilities. Try to block out all the nonsense and all the BS, and just go out there and play.”
So even if the Thunder fans at the Chesapeake Energy Arena later on today decide to chant ‘cupcake’ at the 2014 NBA MVP, he says it’s not going to bother him. We’ll have to wait and see if that is correct, but history says he should still perform well.
Last season, Durant averaged 37.7 points per game in three wins for the Warriors against the Thunder, including 34 in his only game in OKC last season, so even if the fans tonight do decide to chant ‘cupcake’ at him once more, it shouldn’t affect his performance.
The biggest issue, in fact, is whether or not Durant will actually be playing, as he has been listed as questionable for the game due to problems with his ankle. Reports have stated he will likely play after missing Sunday’s win in Brooklyn against the Nets.