How should they feel about him? You know, listen, I’m not going to tell people how to feel or not to judge or what have you. I just think that what he represented for the city was something larger than basketball. I think that he arrived at a time where the city was also on an upward trajectory, a 20-year-old young man in an aspirational city. People kind of snicker and kind of sneer when we talk about that kind of stuff, but my guess is you’re probably not doing that right now. “You know, we talk and you guys would hear me say, this connection to this community, and the typing would stop and the eyes would roll. But I was saying that truthfully and authentically because I know how this business works, and I know that these days are possible. And we need to recognize what exactly took place here over the last eight years and recognize it and celebrate it. “They should feel thankful, grateful. They should not – I can’t tell them not to be disappointed, but the one thing I would also say is the city should be incredibly proud of what they’ve helped create for the Thunder. It’s not possible without that. They need to carry that on. They need to carry on the spirit and the fight and the grit, because that was here before the Thunder. That was here before the Thunder, that spirit, that ability to continue to press forward. That’s in the water here. “I think all of us, Kevin included, was a beneficiary of that approach and what’s in Oklahoma. So my message would be, carry on. Carry on and continue to be proud of what it is that you represent. It’s much bigger than the Thunder.”
Contrast that response to how owner, Dan Gilbert, responded when LeBron James left Cleveland in 2010.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert isn’t feeling bittersweet about LeBron James’ decision to join the Miami Heat.
He’s just bitter.
James’ migration from his hometown Cavs to South Beach to join Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Pat Riley and Miami Heat inspired scathing words from the man who used to sign his pay checks.
In a statement released on the Cavaliers website, Gilbert ripped James in an open letter addressed to the team’s fans.
“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE,” Gilbert wrote.
He went on to say James’ actions were a “cowardly betrayal” and that the Cavaliers would work harder than ever for the fans of Cleveland. But LeBron remained the focus of Gilbert’s ire.
“Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there. Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works,” Gilbert wrote. “This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown ‘chosen one’ sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And ‘who’ we would want them to grow-up to become.”
Stark contrast between class and classless. The Thunder will be much better off without Durant, than the Cavaliers were without LeBron.