Durant’s Return To OKC Sparks Rivalry Among Fans

Saturday, February 11th 2017, 11:03 pm
By: News 9

Kevin Durant returned to the Sooner state with a vengeance Saturday, in a match-up that attracted attention from all over the nation.

Lots of cupcake signs and costumes from Thunder fans represented the preferred jab towards Durant, calling him "soft" for leaving Oklahoma City for the Warriors. One thing that is certain is the passion for this great basketball rivalry is flowing from both sides.

Boos and cheers fought for attention as Durant boarded the bus from his hotel to Chesapeake Arena ahead of the game. The return of this former hometown hero is making for a city divided, disrupting households and friendships.

For Oklahomans like Dylan DeGraffenreid, his loyalty lies with the player, not the home team.

“I grew up here,” he said. “Kevin Durant came along, awesome player, the best, and then he moved and I just had to follow him to California.”

DeGraffenreid’s friend and fellow Oklahoma-native Sayde Saunders disagreed.

“Golden State is my worst enemy. They’re going down,” Saunders said.

Durant also had support pour in from around the country, with families flying in and driving from hours away just to see him perform.

“We’ve never been to an NBA game before, so this is our first time,” said Missouri-native Lane Schumer who came with his family of Warriors fans. “We just wanted to come see the big game.”

Thunder fan Jason Sweet lives in a house divided in Missouri. His son Lincoln shares a love for the Thunder, but his older son Kevin is a die-hard Warriors fan.

“As soon as we knew Durant was coming back, we were all over it, so we bought tickets right away,” Sweet said.

But for many locals, the grudge remains.

Mahogany Steakhouse owner Dave Osborn told News 9 he denied a reservation from Durant this weekend because the restaurant is a space for Thunder fans and players.

Other Oklahomans happily ate at Legacy Grill in Bricktown, the former site of Durant's own popular eatery.

Most, though, were just excited to see him go head-to-head with Russell Westbrook, and even if the two players never make amends, this rivalry will be one to remember.

“There’s a lot of trash talk around the house, but it’s fun. I just put it aside and keep rooting for my team,” Kevin Sweet said.

The feud is still far from over. The Warriors meet on Thunder turf once again March 20.