Uproxx- While expected, the venom with which the Thunder faithful hurled insults and hatred towards Durant caught his mother Wanda, who attended nearly every Oklahoma City home game while Durant was there, off guard.
“The most vicious things you could say, they said about my son tonight. It’s hurtful,” Wanda Durant told ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne.
“They called him a snake, a sellout, a b—h,” she said. “It’s just a sad day. I understand that they loved him. I do understand it. But the name calling. The people with the cupcakes on their backs. … It didn’t have to be like this.”
“It’s the people who make it so personal, and attack his character so viciously, like they know him – (all) because he decided to play somewhere else,” she told USA Today’s Sam Amick. “But then, the bold thing is they’re standing in my face. They’re bold enough to call him a snake and a coward. One guy even called him – I can’t even say it – the p-word. In my face.”
Wanda Durant is absolutely right. The response that Kevin Durant got upon returning to the building he called home while developing into the transcendent player he is today didn't have to be harsh as it was. For one, she could have given birth to a less skilled child. That child could have gone on to become something less than a generational superstar. That superstar - that helped usher in a brand new era of basketball in Oklahoma City - could have stayed with the franchise that was fortunate enough to benefit from an oversight that makes Portland feel ever-so-slightly better about their selection of Sam Bowie. Kevin Durant didn't have to arrive back to the place where he accomplished so much as a villain. He could have arrived back a hero after toppling the winningest regular season team in NBA history, but that went out the window when he chose to bolt to the already stacked team that he had three chances to dethrone en route to the finals.
Trust me when I say that this isn't a criticism of Kevin Durant's decision, nor is it an advocacy of stepping to the mother of an NBA player and screaming "your son is a huge pussy!" right in her face. There's no excusing the people that went that far in making the former love of their sports lives feel un-welcomed. It's simply a rationalization of the spiteful chants, signs, and t-shirts that K(owar)D was on the receiving end of. Calling a guy who gave some of the best years of his career in producing some of the most successful seasons in a franchise's history a "bitch" seems excessive, but so does using the same insult to refer to your ex-girlfriend that did nothing wrong other than breaking your heart by falling for someone else.
Wanda Durant is correct. It didn't have to be like it was. Kevin Durant could've been a bench player whose one season stand with the team was merely a forgettable memory come the following October. He could have been a face-in-the-crowd passenger on the ride to the top, but instead he was the one driving the bus. He got all the love and every benefit of the doubt because of how much he meant to Thunder fans, and that's why - at least temporarily - he'll get all the hate and every petty, vindictive show of frustration from those very same people. They say "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". "They" must be casual fans at best, because becoming overly emotional towards the choices of supremely talented human beings that affect our rooting interests is all part of the territory when it comes to caring way too much about games that we aren't even participating in.