Kevin Durant is a basketball villain.
To most fans, NBA players are characters in an elaborate plot that is enacted live and on televisions nightly. Some players are loved, others loathed, for what they do in this grand saga.
Durant committed a basketball sin by leaving the Thunder for the Warriors, the team that eliminated Oklahoma City in the playoffs last season. It was the easy way out. It made Golden State too good.
So, Durant gets booed and jeered. His jersey gets burned. His name is smeared.
But Durant is also a real person who committed no actual ethical or moral violation by switching employers. And unfortunately, too many fans don’t acknowledge the difference between Durant the basketball character and Durant the real person – which means the attacks at Durant the basketball character often venture into personal territory for Durant the person.
At least Durant says he doesn’t mind the fans who don’t make the distinction.
He wants all of his fans, including the negative ones, to know that he’s appreciative of their support.
“It’s fun, man, because it’s entertainment,” Durant said. “And I appreciate them letting us give them that opportunity, that experience.
“So if you want to heckle or if you want to cheer, as long as you’re getting a release from whatever is going on in your normal life, that’s cool. That’s what life is about. You have to take the good with the bad.”
This is the healthiest approach Durant can take. Given the criticism directed at him, anything else would have him holed up inside for days.