Kevin Durant played for the Oklahoma City Thunder for a nine-year stretch between 2007 and 2016.
During that run Durant evolved into one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen. He won one regular season MVP in the process, made OKC a perennial championship contender and led them to a Finals showing.
That said, when Durant opted to leave the Thunder for the Golden State Warriors – the move left a sour taste in folks’ mouths. It severed a lot of relationships. And Durant’s subsequent attempts to explain the decision didn’t endear him to many.
A certain frostiness between player and franchise has lingered in the air ever since.
During a recent conversation with Logan Murdock of The Ringer, Durant delivered a blunt message to his former squads.
“Every one of these places I played is my home,” he said. “I can imagine me when I’m done, and I don’t think any one of these franchises would be like, ‘No, K, what you did here is not a part of our history.’ I’m going to be a Hall of Famer when I’m done, one of the greatest to ever play. If you don’t want me to be part of your program when I’m done playing, then that’s personal.
“OKC has to retire my jersey,” Durant added. “It wouldn’t even be good for the game of basketball if they didn’t. The same with Golden State … I put in the time and respect and love for each one of these programs on and off the floor to get that type of recognition. If I don’t do it, then it’s personal.”
The Warriors retiring Durant’s jersey is a given. He won two championships with the franchise and made it to the Finals with them three times. In the case of OKC – things are a bit murkier.
Is Durant the best player in the Thunder’s history? Sure. But the way things ended there rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way.
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 1, 2022
Whether he is getting brutally honest about Giannis Antetokounmpo or putting Karl-Anthony Towns in his place, Durant generally keeps it pretty real. And that’s what he did here with his message to the Thunder and Warriors.
Will that ultimately endear him to OKC and Bay Area fans, though? Time will tell.