If only it were so easy. Fill an arena with enthusiastic fans of the home team who nonetheless appreciate the value of a talented and lethal opponent, then pitch woo en masse in an orchestrated thundering chant.
That does it every time, right?
Kevin Durant‘s reaction to Celtics fans’ “Come to Boston!” chants Wednesday night were the equivalent of a homecoming queen’s “Who?” when asked about a classmate’s crush on her.
“I didn’t even hear that, man,” the Oklahoma City All-Star forward said after scoring 28 points with nine assists and seven rebounds in the Thunder’s 130-109 beatdown of the Celtics. “Promise.”
Durant had thrown a few niceties Boston’s way after shootaround Wednesday morning, telling reporters at TD Garden “I like the city a lot.” It was the usual stuff a high-profile free-agent-to-be says when visiting a road city, regardless of his actual interest in relocating there. But because the Celtics are one of the league’s legacy franchises, will have sufficient funds to spend this summer and appear to be long on supporting cast but short on cornerstone superstar, Durant’s comments generated more buzz than usual.
In Boston, anyway.
Thunder fans might feel a little skittish or even aggravated after a long season of speculation, rumors conjecture and guessing. Coach Billy Donovan has dealt with it everywhere OKC has played and chalked up Durant’s response Wednesday as the expected words of a friendly fellow.
“I think Kevin has always been respectful,” Donovan told reporters before the game. “He’s a great guy. I don’t think Kevin would ever say anything derogatory about another team or player or things like that. That’s just not who he is. And I think when he gets put into those situations, he’s only going to say positive things because that’s who he is.”
The Garden loyalists doing the chanting at the game, however, need to understand that Durant gets that stuff everywhere he goes. Imagine the question in the postgame video getting dubbed with one of those obviously-different, deeper dubbed voices saying “New York” or “Washington” or “Miami” rather than “Boston.”
And no, the game operations staff couldn’t help by playing that Dave Loggins song on the videoboard in place of dancing Gino for the night. Tampering rules, y’know.