For the first three seasons, it was all fun and games.
Well, to be accurate, to some folks it was.
But now, Kevin Durant is growing into a bigger superstar by the day. His every move is being watched and scrutinized more than it’s ever been. People near and far have begun hanging on to his every word like never before. And locally, nothing seems to rattle folks’ cages like when Durant talks smack about their beloved OU Sooners.
The Thunder star started slinging jabs the moment he stepped foot in town in 2008. At that year’s Thunder media day, Durant said he “loves being in Oklahoma thus far and I’m going to love playing for (the people here).”
Then Durant was asked if he’d ever root for the Sooners.
“Never,” Durant vowed.
Durant then added that Longhorns and Sooners never will get along.
“I like the rivalry the way it is now,” Durant said. “OU hates Texas and Texas hates OU. That’s how it’s always going to be.”
From that day on, Durant has enjoyed jabbing the Sooners and their die-hard nation every chance he gets. He’s added the phrase “Hook ‘em Horns” to each autograph he’s signed at OU football games. He’s sat courtside at OU basketball games and flashed the two-finger Hook ‘em Horns sign. He’s even taken his needling to Twitter. On Saturday, Durant posted a simple but around these parts scathing message: “LSU > OU…”
Today, one of the Sooners, sophomore defensive back Tony Jefferson, fired back.
Kevin durant. Please stop talking trash about the sooners. You play in Oklahoma. Regardless if you went to Texas. We support u #jerk : (
It brings up an interesting question.
Should Kevin Durant be able to diss OU?
Jefferson is right. This state supports Durant. And not all, but a good majority of sports fans around here cheer for the crimson and cream. But is that enough to prohibit Durant from being able to rag on OU?
Durant has the freedom, like all of us, to say what he wants. There are always consequences, of course. And if he ever gets cornered by the wrong cut of crimson and cream crazies, pray for him. But we’ll just have to hope it never gets to that.
Even if Durant didn’t go to UT, he should be able to voice his opinions, even if they’re negative, about OU. It’s sports. That’s how it works. You wouldn’t expect Durant to root for the Cowboys tonight against the Redskins if he played in Dallas. Because he’s a Redskins fan. Allegiances don’t change because of location. Not if they’re true allegiances they don’t. And especially not when your allegiance belongs to an alma mater, even if you only walked the yard for a single year.
What makes Durant any different than Desmond Mason? When Mason, the former Oklahoma State star, played for the Hornets (here in town in the wake of Hurricane Katrina) and the Thunder for a year, he proudly wore his colors and supported his Cowboys. Not only that, he made an occasional crack about OU and Norman. At the Thunder’s 2008 media day, Mason made it clear that his only reasons to ever venture to Norman were for a Bedlam game or a Krispy Kreme doughnut.
Why could Mason get away with it but Durant can’t? Is it that the Red River Rivalry is just that much more intense and therefore sensitive than the Bedlam rivalry?
If you ask me, Sooners fans should be happy Durant doesn’t embrace the school’s sports. He shouldn’t. Would you really want him to pretend to be something he’s not? That’s never been Durant’s style in the first place. It’d be even worse if he genuinely accepted the Sooners.
Imagine if Blake Griffin had come along 20 years ago. Say he was drafted by Dallas, back when the Mavs stunk. Now try to fathom Griffin living in Texas and embracing everything about the Longhorns. You’d probably disown him. Call him a traitor. Curse his name every time it came up. You’d probably lose all respect for Griffin the moment he said one nice thing about anyone wearing or even associated with burnt orange. And let’s be honest. Griffin already has gotten booed in Oklahoma City for doing far less.
My advice is to let Durant do what he does. He plays his heart out for the Thunder and that should be all that matters. As for the rivalry, and Durant’s needling, just wait for that special weekend in October. Wait until the Sooners smack the Longhorns so good Durant doesn’t want to leave the house. Then let him hear about it. That’s how you handle it.
Should Kevin Durant be able to diss OU?