Almost immediately after announcing his decision to join the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant faced a lot of criticism especially from fans of his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. For them, Durant is now the new villain of the NBA.
The story of a player leaving the team he's been with for so long to sign with a different franchise is not that uncommon in the NBA. And usually, those who do this become the subject of hateful rants from fans.
However, the case of Durant is a bit different. Aside from the fact that he left OKC, a team he has been with since 2008, he joined the Warriors, a team that many referred to as the bad guy during the 2016 NBA Finals.
In addition to the image of Golden State, Durant got a lot of hate from fans because of the Warriors' current standing. With Stephen Curry leading a strong team composed of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors are surely a force to be reckon with. And now that they have Durant, a lot of people are calling them the NBA's current super-team.
However, this doesn't automatically make Durant a villain. Sure, joining a team that has a great chance of taking the championship title next year may have strongly influenced his decision. But then again, isn't this the point of free agency? To allow players to choose which team they would like to play in?
Still, this didn't stop some fans and sports analysts from criticizing Durant. But, amidst all the hate, there were still some people who showed support for the athlete's decision. One of these is his friend DeAndre Jordan.
Jordan, who also found himself in the same situation in 2015 when he decided to return to the Los Angeles Clippers after agreeing to a deal offered by the Dallas Mavericks, said that Durant doesn't have to please anyone with his decision because he has already proven what he can do for the Thunder.
"When I found out he was going to the Warriors, I texted him, 'Man, I'm happy for you. This is going to be big. I can't wait to kick y'all a**,'" Jordan told ESPN.
"I'm happy for him," he added. "He gave those guys [in OKC] nine great years of MVP-level basketball, a Finals appearance. He played his heart out for that team. If they can't respect that, if other players can't respect it, that's their decision. At the end of the day, he's happy and that's the only person he has to satisfy."