But they had no trouble determining how they felt about Raptors fans who cheered Durant’s injury.
Klay Thompson, via Ethan Sherwood Strauss of The Athletic:
“We’re only idolized as superstar athletes, not human beings. It’s always about what we can do between those lines. That’s it. That’s all that ever matters.”
Said Stephen Curry: “I’ve lived here. I really enjoyed the people and their passion and excitement for not only the game, but just when you come into town they just enjoy life and they’re nice people. Very confused around that reaction. It’s not my experience with the people of this city.”
The fans who cheered Durant’s injury are jerks. There were definitely fans near the court waving goodbye to him, making their ill-intent known.
But I’m not sure how many fans in the arena were cheering for that reason.
Serge Ibaka got a steal and drew a shooting foul on a fastbreak as Durant went down. There was certainly excitement about that play. While the telecast immediately noticed Durant’s injury and focused cameras on him, I’m sure many eyes in the arena were following the ball to the other end of the court. I certainly was, and what sounded like normal cheering for Ibaka’s play coincided with the fans shown waving off Durant.
Once Durant got up, the crowd cheered louder. Fans applauding an injured player standing up is common and usually appreciated. The Warriors took exception here. Kyle Lowry, Danny Green and Pascal Siakam tried to quiet the crowd.
Were some people cheering that Durant was limping? Given the antics near the court, undoubtedly. Were some people applauding that Durant got up? That’s such a common show of support for an injured player, I have to think so.
How many were cheering for good reasons and how many for bad reasons? I can’t read anyone’s mind. One fan celebrating Durant’s injury is too many, and there was way more than one. We’ve condemned entire fan bases for the conduct of fewer people. Fairly or unfairly, the jerks reflect on the entire Raptors fan base.
But the context should also be considered. That arena was rocking last night, and fans got into frenzies over plays even smaller than Ibaka’s steal and drawn foul. Unlike TV viewers, not everyone there had their view focused on Durant so quickly. Cheering at games tends to beget more cheering. Some fans cheered Durant’s injury. Some fans cheered Ibaka’s play. Some fans cheered just because they were fueled by others cheering.
Multiple things occurred simultaneously. I really don’t think it was an arena full of Raptors fans celebrating Durant’s injury.
As full attention turned to Durant leaving the court, fans clearly cheered in support. Many chanted, “KD! KD!”
In the aftermath, all this is being used to judge the Toronto fan base. But I think this says more about how Durant is viewed.
Durant has become the biggest villain in the NBA. Raptors fans had been jeering him all night, with chants of “KD sucks!” I don’t expect fans to cheer rival players, but Durant was grinding through a previous injury to help his team. Other players would have at least been silently commended under those circumstances.
But fans of other 29 other teams still haven’t gotten over Durant signing with Golden State. They’ve labeled him a snake, a coward and worse and have treated him as such.
That reached its gross logical conclusion last night, with at least some fans celebrating Durant’s injury. All because he took a better job three years ago.
It’s fine to dislike the move as a basketball fan. Durant choosing the Warriors did undermine competitive balance.
But the very personal hatred of him has gone way too far.