Every team in the league would love to have Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant on their roster. But as a young NBA fan growing up in Washington, D.C., which roster did Durant himself wish he could join? Surprisingly, the answer wasn't his hometown Washington Bullets/Wizards; as a matter of fact, as the 24-year-old three-time scoring champ said during an appearance on Thursday's episode of "The Dan Patrick Show," it wasn't even a team in the United States.
From that interview, by way of Mike Johnston of Sportsnet.ca:
"Believe it or not, I wanted to play for the Toronto Raptors, that was my favorite team. [...] They were a new team when I was growing up, so I wanted to be a part of that," Durant said.
Another reason Durant cheered for the Raptors was because he was a big fan of Vince Carter, Toronto's former franchise player.
"His enthusiasm he showed, just his athleticism, and how he brought Toronto from being one of the newer teams in the league to almost going to the finals. He changed the culture there in Toronto."
First thing's first: If Kevin Durant loves the Raptors, he has a funny way of showing it:
Clearly, there's been at least some love lost.
Still, it's not like he's making it up. After all, this isn't the first time Durant's referenced his childhood love of the Raps — during a Twitter chat with fans back in 2008, KD acknowledged his dino-centric fandom. Unfortunately for Raps fans, though, the team's never had a chance at landing Durant.
For one thing, Toronto was without a first-round selection in the Durant/Greg Oden-headlined 2007 NBA draft after packaging its first-round pick with center Michael Stewart in a September 2002 trade that brought back reserve swingman/cousin of Tracy McGrady cousin Lamond Murray and a 2004 second-rounder. For another, their own first-round choice would've done them no good, as they were slated for the No. 22 pick after a Chris Bosh- and T.J. Ford-led Raptors squad went 47-35 to win the Atlantic Division the previous season; Durant, you'll recall went second to the Seattle SuperSonics, after the Portland Trail Blazers tapped Oden No. 1 overall.
For a third, Durant never reached free agency, as the relocated Thunder re-upped the young star to a five-year, $80 million max-level contract as soon as they could in the summer of 2010. Oh, well. There's always the summer of 2016, when Durant's extension runs out, I guess. The Raps might have pretty clean books by then, so anything's possible!
Durant tells Patrick that he loved Carter's play growing up, which is of course understandable, because he was basically the most exciting thing alive for his first three seasons or so in Toronto. However, he also says that he loved the Raptors because they were a new team in the league and he loved their jerseys; as a result, despite the fact that the Carter-era Raps only wore them for one season, I'm going to choose believe that Kevin Durant's desire to play for the Toronto Raptors growing up stemmed from a desire to someday wear a giant dinosaur on his chest both at home and on the road. To which I can only say: Been there, bro.