As the Rockets first round series with the Oklahoma City Thunder unfolded, as Kevin Martin flopped around like a spastic Euro, as Derek Fisher continually executed the only discernible basketball skill still in his repertoire (corner three!), as Kendrick Perkins ran up and down the floor with the grace and agility of the Great Khali, it became readily apparent that in the pantheon of "sports hatred," the Oklahoma City Thunder were rapidly assuming the mantle of the Utah Jazz, at least in my world.
For that series, I "sports hated" the Oklahoma City Thunder, at least this version of them. Hell, even the always likable Kevin Durant was starting to take on some "heel" tendencies, talking trash to the crowd at Toyota Center and making odd "angry faces" at various times during the series.
So I even "sports hated" Kevin Durant! Go figure.
Three weeks later, the worst tornado in the history of tornadoes hits Moore, OK, leaving the bird's eye view of the town looking like a massive, semi-organized landfill, with miniature mountains of broken lumber and twisted metal dotting the landscape. News reports have consisted of some inspiring stories of rescue and bravery, and just as many stories of loved ones lost.
And then the stories of generosity roll in, and you have the moment that clarifies the massive difference between "sports hatred" and actual hatred.
Because it's impossible to hate, even "sports hate" really, Kevin Durant after reading this story:
In a big time of need, Kevin Durant is once again coming through in the clutch for Oklahoma City.
Per the Red Cross, Durant has given a $1 million donation to the Oklahoma tornado disaster relief fund.
Death numbers aren't certain but currently 24 people, including many children, lost their lives int he tornado that ravaged Moore, Oklahoma. An estimated 300 homes have been destroyed and early valuations have the damage totaling well into the billions of dollars.
Yesterday Durant tweeted, "Praying for the victims of the Tornadoes in OKC these last few days..Everybody stay safe!"
You hope that when guys sign max deals that they have the self-awareness to understand the difference they can make. Durant is the epitome of self-awareness, the picture of generosity, and whatever other cliche you can come up with. In an age where superstar players are manipulating every nut and bolt in the NBA machine to get out of markets the size and social scene of Oklahoma City, Durant not only agreed to a max deal to stay there a couple years ago, but he now shares with that community as one would share with their own family.
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Kevin Durant is Oklahoma.
There's a lot of work to do, still, to try and tabulate the damage and then begin the recovery in Oklahoma. Using this post as a way to help a tiny bit, here's how you can donate to help the people of Moore, courtesy of Kevin Durant via Twitter:
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) May 21, 2013
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.