There aren’t many places as beautiful as Vancouver, British Columbia, but Kevin Durant probably didn’t get to enjoy the idyllic vistas when the Warriors met the Raptors on Saturday to unofficially tip off the 2016-17 season in their first preseason game. It’s the preseason, after all, so it doesn’t really matter, but because the Dubs added Durant this offseason, everyone was wondering how it would go. The game was televised on NBA TV, and viewers got to see Kevin Durant go 2-of-9 from the field for 9 points, three assists and three turnovers in a little over 18 minutes of action. They also got to hear a smattering of boos when Durant first took the court. Yeah, this happened in Canada, home to probably the nicest people in the Western Hemisphere (Seriously, even The Starters fellas — originally from Toronto — have remained genial after becoming stars on NBA TV), but they’re just a fraction of the fans upset by Durant’s decision to seek employment elsewhere in July.
At least one teammate, Steph Curry, found the booing amusing because there’s really no reason Vancouver fans should be upset by Durant’s decision.
“It’s just funny,” Curry told NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper. “I highly doubt anybody in this arena was affected by (Durant’s free-agent decision). It’s just funny kind of buying into a narrative that doesn’t really make sense. It probably won’t be the last time. But he handles it well and at the end of the day it’s just about playing basketball.”
Steph also sarcastically said of Durant: “I really don’t like him,” so there’s least one Warriors star is attempting to laugh off the response.
It’s worth noting the Raptors are Canada’s team, hence the strong showing of affection in Vancouver, but Durant was booed during pre-game introductions and nearly every time he touched the ball. For a player who isn’t used to that sort of reaction, it could be tough. We know now that LeBron felt the psychological affects of being labeled a villain in his first season with the Heat, and the same might happen with the long-limbed superstar who left the Thunder to join a 73-win Warriors team.
But the Warriors know more booing is on the horizon, too, just think of the reaction in Oklahoma City when the Warriors play in Durant’s former adopted city on Feb. 11.