Sportress of Blogitude

Kevin Durant knows it ‘still hurts’ for Thunder fans that he left

Kevin Durant on Saturday will return to Chesapeake Energy Arena for the first time since leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors. And the onetime favorite son-turned-pariah understands Thunder fans will likely let him have it every time he touches the ball, if not even more often.

Durant recently sat down with ESPN’s Marc Stein for a wide-ranging interview that aired early Thursday morning on “SportsCenter.” It’s the same interview where Durant blamed the media for his so-called “feud” with Russell Westbrook. But in this segment, Durant addressed specifically how Thunder fans must be feeling over his departure … and how they’ll treat him come Saturday.

“No matter what goes on [Saturday night in OKC] — cheers, boos — I know that stuff will be remembered, and it’s something that I’m always going to remember. It’s a new chapter in my life. I’ve decided to move on. I know I’m making it sound as simple as that, but to me, that’s how I have to approach it. It’s just as simple as me moving on and turning a new page in my life.

“But for them, I know it still hurts for me to move on. They looked at me as their son. I was there since I was 19 years old, and I grew up there. So, like I said, I understand, man. It’s all a part of playing sports. It’s all a part of being a fan, so I embrace it all.”

“I’m looking forward to playing in that atmosphere,” Durant continued. “… it’s going to be different, but it should be fun.”

Both Durant and Westbrook have had plenty to say about one another ever since their split – albeit in mostly passive-aggressive ways — all that likely matters to both competitors is who comes out on top once the final horn sounds in each game between their respective teams.

Durant got bragging rights the first two times around, both home wins for the Warriors. Let’s see what happens when Westbrook has a very vocal — not to mention incredibly embittered –Thunder Nation seeking revenge urging him on.