Andrew Gilman

You don’t hate Kevin Durant

You don’t hate Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant doesn’t hate Oklahoma City, or the Thunder, or you.

You weren’t mad at Kevin Durant a year ago. And you won’t be mad at him a few years from now, maybe sooner, if you take a step away, a step back from your blinding rage. Because you don’t hate Kevin Durant.

And when you do take that step back, and your conscience takes the lead over misplaced revenge, you’ll realize you never hated Kevin Durant at all. It’s true. You’ve loved him all along. Still probably do, too.

So there’s no reason to pretend it’s any different come Saturday night when the Thunder get to play the Warriors – KD’s new team – for the first of two times in Oklahoma City.

You love Kevin Durant. You hate that he left, the way he left, perhaps why he left and the fact he’s no longer playing for your favorite team. But you don’t hate him.

Durant left OKC and it caught you by surprise. Looked like betrayal. Felt like a kick to the privates. In addition to that, he left for Golden State, the team Durant and his Thunder teammates lost to, so that betrayal marinated and it felt like full-blown hate.

But you don’t hate Kevin  Durant. You hate the way he left, the internet articles, the fact he didn’t say goodbye to you or Russell Westbrook or give anyone wearing Thunder blue a hug on the way out the door. Looked disengenuous, like he didn’t mean it when he said he loved and treated Oklahoma City like it was his hometown for all those years. Felt like a sucker-punch.

You don’t hate Kevin Durant. You hate the way he left this organization, seemingly spiraling downward until Westbrook through general manager Sam Presti a life preserver, signing an extension. You hate the way KD left the team without the two superstars they’ve always had, leaving OKC light years away from a title, despite only being a few minutes from playing for one only about a month earlier.

You don’t hate Kevin Durant. You hate what he said about loving his new teammates and the new culture out there on the San Francisco Bay. Looked shallow. Felt like you got dumped.

You don’t hate Kevin Durant. You can’t. He’s the most-important thing to happen in Oklahoma City since MAPS and despite being a global superstar, it seemed like he could have been from Lawton, or Enid, Edmond or Altus. Looked like love when he donated his time and his money. Felt genuine.

You don’t hate Kevin Durant. Impossible to do. Not after he gave the greatest MVP speech you ever heard and played the best basketball you ever saw – right in your state, for your team. Felt real. You know it did.

You don’t hate Kevin Durant. You hate he doesn’t play here anymore. It’s maddening and frustrating and it hurts and stings and burns that he’s part of one of the elite teams in the league and the Thunder aren’t. That’s OK. It’s understandable. Feels normal.

So, when you stand there Saturday and they call Kevin Durant’s name, you won’t be booing him, because you don’t hate him. You never have.

You just hate the way he’s made you feel. So, when are you going to let it go? Are you strangle-holding the “Kevin Durant left us” grudge?  You don’t have to. You’ll feel even better if you don’t because you don’t hate Kevin Durant. And you never will. 

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