Even when wearing Team USA jerseys, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green didn’t get a lot of love when playing in one the pre-Olympic preparation games, this time against China, held in Los Angeles. Two of the three Golden State Warriors players on the roster were received by boos from the fans, which isn’t too surprising, or the last time it’ll happen on NBA courts this season.
Durant didn’t seem bothered by the reaction from the crowd, leading the team with 19 points in a 106-57 win, Klay Thompson scored 17 points, in another blowout win following their opening exhibition victory over Argentina. With DeAndre Jordan getting the warmest set of support from the fans, it’s safe to assume there were plenty of Los Angeles Clippers fans in the building, hence the relative hostility towards Durant and Green, with the Clippers-Warriors rivalry alive and well despite the one-sidedness to it last season.
Green has probably added some points in the battle for most hated NBA player during the playoffs and the offseason. His groin kicking, high leg swinging antics culminated in one-game suspension during the NBA finals after taking a swing at LeBron James, a decision that changed momentum in the series, helping the Cleveland Cavaliers recover from going 3-1 down, eventually winning the series. He had incidents of intentional physical contact before in his career, a couple of times against Clippers players too, but the Finals put it under a whole new light, giving him a much broader exposure.
And then in the offseason, Green added to his reputation with an incident in East Lansing for hitting (slapping?) a former Michigan State football player, among other accusations that didn’t put Green in the best of lights. The police were involved, but the case has been settled and it won’t be going to trial. Still, it made the news, and anyone who was looking for new reasons to dislike Green and the Warriors, got them with abundance over the last two months.
Durant is a bit new to this. He isn’t the lovable underdog he was when the Thunder made the Finals in 2012 for the first time (and only time before he left), but leaving Oklahoma City for the already stacked Warriors will make him go through what LeBron James did in 2010, although Durant has never been as popular or interesting as James, so it won’t have the same amplitude and effect, except for when he plays in Oklahoma City.