In Monday night’s Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant returned to the court after over a month out, scoring 11 points in 12 minutes. But Durant went out with an injury during the game which, per ESPN, is believed by the Warriors to be a torn Achilles.
The injury is expected to have major implications on Durant’s career, including his prospective free agency this offseason, as well as on the league itself, as any team signing Durant will likely be without him for as long as a year. But part of the story coming out of the injury was the reaction by fans in Toronto.
Per ESPN’s Twitter video of the moments after the injury, some fans at Scotiabank Arena were heard cheering when Durant got hurt. Meanwhile, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and other players on both teams urged them not to do so.
During and after the game, which the Warriors won to force a Game 6 of the series, various current and former NBA players based the Toronto fans for their cheers of the injuries.
The Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins, who has himself suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the past, referred to the cheering Raptors fans as “trash,” and also cursed out fans who had questioned Durant’s “heart” for taking so long to return to the court, as seen in this YouTube video from ESPN.
Golden State’s Klay Thompson also expressed his anger over the cheering.
“That was freaking ridiculous. I can’t even put into words how mad I was about that,” Thompson said, per reporter Ethan Strauss on Twitter.
“Toronto fans just made one of the most shameful displays I’ve ever seen,” political commentator Marc Lamont Hill said on Twitter. “And I’m from Philly.”
Indeed, many fans of Philadelphia sports teams were quick to point the finger at the Toronto fans, considering that Philadelphia is often evoked when it comes to bad fan behavior. Such incidents include the cheering of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin’s career-ending injury in 1999 and the Santa Claus/snowballs incident in the 1960s.
Others put things in perspective.
“So I’m not sorry to see the Toronto fans getting roasted right now,” writer Mitch Goldich tweeted. “But the lesson is that *every* fan base in every city has people who suck. It’s annoying people continue to say ‘only in Philly’ or whatever, when it happens literally everywhere.”
The NBA Finals will resume with Game 6 in Oakland on Thursday night, with a potential Game 7 scheduled for next Sunday in Toronto, in the event of a Warriors win.