Tuesday night, for the first time since he bolted for Brooklyn, Kevin Durant will play in front of Warriors fans in the Chase Center, part of the NBA's 2023-24 opening night extravaganza.
Warriors fans should give him a hero's welcome. Durant spent three seasons in Golden State and while there won two Finals MVPs as the Warriors won back-to-back NBA titles, he averaged 25.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists a game in those years and was All-NBA every season he was on the team.
Is that enough to get his number retired by the Warriors? Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob thinks so, and when asked Durant agreed with him, as KD told Marc Spears of ESPN’s Andscape.
On Lacob and Golden State potentially retiring his jersey, Durant said: "He should. Look at the résumé. That would warrant me to get a jersey retirement, right? Do I want to be honored by a franchise I put work in for? Of course, I would love that. I had some great moments there. I built some solid relationships there. Yeah, man. Hell yeah, that would be sweet. I love that organization, man. I love my time there, seriously. Me leaving, people shouldn't doubt that, because I left there.
Lacob has said that nobody would wear Durant's No. 35 on the Warriors while he was in charge, hinting at a jersey retirement someday. It may happen, although not until after Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green see their numbers up in the rafters.
Durant has nothing bad to say about his experience in Golden State; rather he said it helped prepare him for what he hopes to experience with this Suns team. For Durant, it was a special moment in his life. He has been to Chase Center before, but the one time the Nets played there back in 2021 was during COVID restrictions and no fans were allowed in the building.
This will be different, and on Tuesday night we'll see how Warriors fans react to Durant.