It’s one of the most shameless things in all of sports. Fans can be considerably ruthless when opposing teams visit the arena or stadium and the atmosphere can be hostile.
It’s supposed to be all in good fun though. An Alabama Crimson Tide versus Auburn Tigers game will undoubtedly be ultra competitive and the fans certainly feed off that energy, but one of the shallowest and shameless things a fan can do is applaud an injury to a player on the opposing team.
That’s what the Toronto Raptors fans did when Kevin Durant went down with an injury during Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night, but the Raptors fans redeemed themselves with this extraordinary gesture.
It was a bizarre culmination of circumstances that goes back a few months. Most people, even Golden State Warriors fans, believed whole-heartedly there was no way Kevin Durant would stay when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in less than a month.
The initial chatter was that Kevin Durant would join his friend Kyrie Irving at the New York Knicks. The biggest bloviating loudmouth in all of sports media, Stephen A. Smith, claimed there was a 95-percent chance he would leave Golden State and join the Los Angeles Clippers. This kind of unsubstantiated conjecture is enough to make you roll your eyes so hard you’ll snap your neck in the process.
During the West Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets, Durant injured his calf and was forced to miss the Conference Finals and most of the NBA Finals.
The pressure mounted at the close of Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors as the Golden State Warriors fell 3 games to 1 and were facing elimination.
Durant suited up even though he wasn’t a hundred percent and came out on fire in the first quarter scoring 11 points and stifling Toronto’s Pascal Siakam in the process – and then it happened.
The reigning two-time consecutive NBA Finals MVP injured what seemed to be his calf again late in the first quarter. And what did the Toronto crowd do? They cheered.
It was a gross display of poor sportsmanship. Nobody should ever wish injury on anybody. Even in Jurassic Park – a title the area right outside of the arena has been affectionately nicknamed given the team’s mascot and the popular Steven Spielberg movie – they, too, cheered when Durant went down.
Even Raptors players Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry through their hands up to the crowd and pleaded with them not to cheer on the injury. Warriors players found it disgusting. In fact, most of the media did as well.
But that’s odd behavior for Canadians, isn’t it? Canadians are supposed to be some of the nicest people on the planet where the running joke is that they say “sorry” to everything that’s not even their fault.
But they redeemed themselves on Thursday night before Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Fans passed around a giant handwritten “Get Well Soon Kevin” card. That’s how Canadians are supposed to act.
Here’s a video of it and the mascot even signed it too.
Raptors fans signing a get well soon card for Durant is so Canadian it hurts 😂 pic.twitter.com/epyo9rAfOO
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 13, 2019
Another fan organized a GoFundMe campaign for Durant where all the proceeds go towards his charity and not his injury already has $30,000 and the page reads: “On behalf of the level-headed and true fans of Raptor Nation – from Toronto to Vancouver to Iqaluit to St. John’s, and any fans living outside Canada: we wanted to say ‘sorry.’”