TORONTO — Among all the tense moments that took place during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, nothing got fans on both sides more riled up with emotions than when the Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant had to come off the court after rupturing his Achilles’ tendon.
Hamzah Moin, a 34-year-old digital communications specialist from Markham, Ont., wasn’t at Scotiabank Arena when it happened, but watching the game at home, he felt a “weird pit” in his stomach.
“It was this lingering feeling that stayed with me,” he told HuffPost Canada. “It didn’t feel right.”
Even though fans pointed out the initial taunts had turned into genuine cheers for Durant, reports of other instances of toxic fan behaviour were coming in - fans cheering the injury in Jurrasic Park, and some even heckling Stephen Curry’s parents outside their hotel.
It all stayed with Moin as he went to bed that night.
“I didn’t think it was indicative of our whole Raptors fanbase, these negative actions were coming out of a few bad apples.”
We shouldn’t feel so distraught, a championship could be coming to this city and we should be excited about it.”Hamzah Moin, Raptors fan
Moin woke up the next morning thinking that he probably wasn’t the only one who felt that way. He wanted to find a way for the city to make it up.
Moin’s campaign has already reached its $25,000 goal mark with over 800 different contributors, and he has raised the target.
In the campaign’s description, he offers an apology to Durant.
“This isn’t cool. This isn’t right. This isn’t what I expect from fellow Canadians.”
Moin isn’t the only one looking to redeem the fanbase. One anonymous Canadian sent flowers to the Warriors office.
Another fan created a website called sorrykd.com which features a donation button that leads to Durant’s foundation’s donation page.
“We got too excited and we screwed up,” the site says. “We are Canadian, so naturally, we are sorry.”
Moin agrees that while there are “bad apples” on the fanbase, it was the heat of the moment that probably got to people.
“We haven’t had a championship our entire existence, the city hasn’t seen a championship since Blue Jays,” he said.
“I think we’re just really hungry.”
Moin isn’t sure if Durant has seen his campaign
“I figured he has his own priorities right now,” he said
The Raptors fan is just glad that Canadians have managed to turn a negative event into a positive contribution.
“It’s going to make for a better Game 6 watch for myself.”
As for Durant, he posted an update on Instagram Wednesday. The player is out of surgery and ready for the road to recovery.
Things will get tense as the fight for the NBA Title gets tighter and tighter, but Moin hopes that fans will keep it together.
“We shouldn’t feel so distraught. A championship could be coming to this city and we should be excited about it.”
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