On Independence Day 2016, the entire NBA was shook by Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors. One of the best players in the league just joined a team that went 73-9 in the regular season. The same team that eliminated Durant in the NBA Finals after OKC led 3-1. The news reverberated across social media and sports talk, with many lambasting the decision in “taking the easy way out.” In one day, Durant’s reputation switched from humble, nice guy to traitorous snake.
The backlash was similar to LeBron’s decision in 2010, with the negative reaction from the Oklahoma City fans taking a toll on Durant. In the moment, KD was impressed by the Warriors pitch from stars Steph Curry, Klay Thomson, and Draymond Green. Their “strength in numbers” tagline had intrigued KD, as did the pass-friendly, fast-paced offense.
This was on full display from the jump, with instant chemistry on this full-court pass to Curry, who instant lobbed it to KD or the jam.
The throw-downs came in bunches this year, as Durant threw one down on Brook Lopez early in the season.
Everybody’s eyes were on the Thunder vs. Warriors matchups those, as the season started with the matchup at Oracle Arena in November 2016. Durant got the best of his former team though in a blowout win that included 39 points from KD.
Durant’s first game back in Oklahoma City featured more vitriol, to say the least, as fans booed heavily.
When the Warriors had a commanding lead in in the second quarter, the fans started calling “KD” a cupcake. This was a popular term that former Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins coined for soft players in the NBA. Despite the heckling, KD left his former home with another W.
Durant would go on to wear the KD 9 and KD 9 Elite until playoff time, where he debuted the next shoe in his line.