Its been known for years that when NBA free agency begins Friday, the biggest question in the league is whether Kevin Durant will stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder, which took the Golden State Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference Finals, or bolt for another team, possibly his hometown Washington Wizards.
Durant grew up in Suitland, and Wizards fans have long fantasized about him suiting up for the Wizards. But the team reportedly faces long odds on satisfying its fans’ dreams; according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Wizards aren’t even on the list of teams with which Durant plans to meet when he declares himself a free agent.
And there may be reasons beyond the fact that other teams offer Durant, better supporting casts in his drive to win a championship. As much as locals may love Durant, he doesn’t exactly reciprocate. Durant criticized DC fans last year after they cheered for him more loudly than they did for the Wizards when the Thunder beat Washington at the Verizon Center.
“It was kind of disrespectful, in my opinion, because you’ve got a great team there already, that deserves your full, 100 percent support,” he told Yahoo Sports. “And I wouldn’t like that if I was on that team. And I didn’t like that.”
Does Durant have a point? Are DC sports fans disloyal? That Wizards-Thunder game happened at the peak of #KD2DC frenzy, and fans were cheering for Durant in hopes of encouraging him to move home. Would he have felt more welcome under a chorus of jeers?
Washington sports fans have been known to boo their on teams, too, but it’s often out of earned derision. Here are a few recent instances of DC spectators turning on their home teams.
November 16, 2014:
The Redskins lost to the (then 1-8) Buccaneers at home by over 30 points. Fans booed the home team throughout the game, left early, and kept jeering the the Redskins as the team walked off the field.
May 23, 2015:
Stephen Strasburg got booed as he walked off the mound after giving up six runs in less than four innings.
September 8, 2015
Nationals manager Matt Williams booed by fans while walking out of a press conference after his team blew a 7-1 lead over the New York Mets.
Wizards point guard John Wall was booed at the free-throw line in the final minutes of a tight game versus the Boston Celtics.
Papelbon reaction. Kind of meh pic.twitter.com/pB1ER4P6a3
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) April 7, 2016
Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon did not receive an overly warm welcome at the team’s home opener. But that’s what you get after you choke the star player.