For the first time since taking his talents to the Bay Area, Kevin Durant will be returning to the Chesapeake Energy Arena to face off against Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
While the reception of the fans to Durant’s return is unknown, the small forward and his business manager, Rich Kleiman, have decided to take extra precautions in regards to the homecoming.
According to ESPN, Durant hired armed security in addition to the team’s security, tripling the amount of protection for the former OKC baller. Sources say, a team of security officials will be overseeing the safety of Kleiman and Durant’s mother, Wanda, throughout the game as well.
Although Durant “won’t be locked in his hotel room,” the amount of traveling he will be doing throughout the city is still unknown. As for events and appearances during his time in Oklahoma, the baller will be sending his business manager in his place.
In the meantime, to prepare for the reaction of the OKC fans, sources say Durant reached out to someone who was all too familiar with the treatment he may receive, Rich Paul, LeBron James’ agent.
According to ESPN, Paul is the one who encouraged Durant to take extra preventative safety methods. He also advised the baller to stay focused and keep his emotions under control. Paul warned Durant to keep an eye on his family and keep it moving throughout the arena, with little to no reaction to insults from the former fans. Finally, the publication reports, Paul told Durant to pay his respects to the city and “as long as he’s happy with his decision, he doesn’t owe anybody anything.”
As for the rest of the Warriors in the wake of their teammate’s emotional return, they’re just here to play the game.
“It’s definitely going to be emotional,” Durant said Friday. “I’m not going to change how I prepare, [not going to] change how I play. I’m going to play my game and worry about basketball. That’s all I can do.”
One Warrior in particular had one special wish for tonight’s game.
“I just wish Zaza [Pachulia] was playing,” Draymond Green told ESPN, referencing a flagrant foul altercation between the absent Warrior and Westbrook. “I’m going to get him back,” Green said, mocking Westbrook, who made the same comment last month after the flagrant from Pachuilla, who then stood over him. “That’s what I want to see,” Green added. “I wish Zaza was here.”