Tatum advocates for Warriors to retire Durant's jersey: ‘No question' originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
With Kevin Durant set to play in front of Warriors fans for the first time since leaving Golden State in Tuesday night's NBA season opener, the Phoenix Suns star's return is on the minds of many throughout the league.
Durant's legacy in the Bay is unquestionable, winning two championships in three NBA Finals appearances while wearing No. 35 with the Warriors. But should his jersey be retired to the confines of the Chase Center rafters? Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum certainly thinks so.
No question. 35, 30, 11, 23 and 9 all going in the rafters https://t.co/EgBVVbnafY
— Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0) October 24, 2023
Tatum's social media post advocated for Durant's No. 35 to be retired along with the jerseys of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala -- the dynastic Warriors core which has four NBA titles to its name.
In an online poll conducted by NBC Sports Bay Area last season, 53.9 percent of respondents said Durant's jersey "absolutely" should be retired, while 46.1 percent said "Definitely not."
Should the Warriors retire KD's number??
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 1, 2022
And despite Durant's decision to leave Golden State after just three seasons, the two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP has stated multiple times he believes both the Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder, where he spent the first nine years of his career, should retire his jersey.
Along with Tatum and Durant, others have made it clear No. 35 deserves the honor. Warriors icon Chris Mullin "100 percent" believes Durant's Warriors jersey should be retired, he stated last season on "Warriors Pregame Live," and Golden State owner and CEO Joe Lacob has reiterated his opinion on the matter, too.
Lacob said after Durant’s departure in July that no Warrior would ever wear No. 35 while the team still was under his ownership, and in 2019, he clarified his thoughts during an appearance on "The TK Show" with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami.
“The intention is to retire his number, but we specifically said it that way, for now,” Lacob told Kawakami. “Because he’s still playing, it's kind of inappropriate to some extent to say you're gonna retire his number when he's still playing in the league, but that's the intention.”
As the Warriors and Suns prepare for the 2023-24 NBA season tipoff Tuesday night at Chase Center, Durant will take the court to plenty of fanfare. Fans will be treated to a pregame video honoring Durant's achievements in the Bay, and maybe one day, he can return to see his jersey raised to the Chase Center rafters.