Everyone expected Oklahoma City Thunder fans to boo Kevin Durant heavily upon his return to Chesapeake Energy Arena. They did not disappoint.
Playing in his old home arena for the first time since joining the Golden State Warriors this past offseason, Durant was showered with boos and jeers from the crowd during pregame introductions on Saturday night. Take a look and a listen above.
That intense reaction continued into the game itself, which the Warriors won handily 130-114. The crowd booed every time Durant touched the ball and cheered his every failure, an unsurprising development in the ongoing saga of the most controversial free agent move since LeBron James joined the Miami Heat in 2010. Durant expected to be booed (and beefed up security as an extra precaution), but the reality of a sellout crowd fully against him probably felt different altogether.
The negative attention started when Durant took the floor for warmups, although that reception included a smattering of cheers, as well:
Some boos, some reflection as KD takes the court. pic.twitter.com/Rt4IgRIDno
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 12, 2017
However, Thunder fans “voiced more support for their team than they did anger towards Durant. Very loud cheers immediately met any positive play for the Thunder, including a position several minutes into the first quarter where Westbrook bested Durant’s defense to find Steven Adams with an assist for a floater. As we wrote in this Friday’s BDL newsletter, the experience was as much about fans’ pride for the Thunder’s success without Durant as lingering bad feelings towards him.
Still, the Durant-related saltiness was evident throughout the arena. Thankfully, it took a pretty creative form. Fans particularly seized on Westbrook’s sub-Instagram calling KD a “cupcake” in the aftermath of his free-agent announcement:
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) February 12, 2017
Kevin Durant “Cupcake” signs… pic.twitter.com/nLOnZXyWTC
— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) February 12, 2017
There were many other kinds of signs calling out Durant as a traitor and soft competitor, too:
Printing out old tweets as in-arena signs is definitely a thing pic.twitter.com/MWbmAADgal
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 12, 2017
Some pics from the inside, where there are far more Warriors fans than I expected but still plenty of OKC ???? pic.twitter.com/bc2Lx3gOSM
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 12, 2017
Dig the artwork on the Kowardly Lion sign pic.twitter.com/mRYrIzSRf0
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 12, 2017
The prevailing mood seemed to be sane (for professional sports, at least) — lots of displays of displeasure, but nothing over the line.
More on Yahoo Sports:
• Knicks’ major problem? Team owner James Dolan
• Jose Fernandez’s estate sued by families of boating victims
• Six Patriots have now said they won’t visit the White House
• NCAA tourney committee reveals first in-season top 16
– – – – – – –