In 1997, the Washington Football Team left the historic venue of RFK Stadium for the brand-new, 80,000-seat venue of FedExField.
The location change, which moved the team's home stadium from the nation's capital to Landover, Md., left many Washington fans uneasy. The team had its best years as a franchise while playing at RFK, and stories of the stadium shaking are still told by several of the team's diehard fans today.
However, moving from Southeast D.C. to Landover, Md. -- in the heart of Prince George's County -- was a main reason Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant became a fan of the Football Team.
"I can remember in '97 when the team moved to P.G. County in Landover, it was just so exciting to finally see a team close to home," Durant said Wednesday during Washington's virtual 'Welcome Home Luncheon.'
Before he was a star at the University of Texas, an annual NBA All-Star and two-time champion, Durant was a P.G. County native who grew up in Seat Pleasant, Md., which is approximately a 10-minute drive from Washington's home stadium.
"Growing up behind the stadium and having family that lived behind the stadium, I would always hear exciting plays," Durant said. "I grew to be a fan over time and started to watch the team over time."
While he quickly realized as a kid that his athletic future was on the hardwood rather than the gridiron, Durant's fandom for the Washington Football Team never wavered.
The 6-foot-10 forward cited two former Washington players -- the late Sean Taylor and Robert Griffin III -- as his two favorites since he's been following the team.
"Sean Taylor became one of my favorites, RG3 when he came through were probably the two memorable players of my time," Durant said. "But I know we've had so many great players and so many great moments. I'm excited that things are starting to look up for us and are starting to get better. But I've been a fan since I was a kid."
Washington is entering a new era in 2020 under head coach Ron Rivera, but the roster is full of young talent. Durant is excited to see what this new youth movement in Washington will lead to.
"I'm looking forward to the youth on this team as well, obviously with Dwayne [Haskins] and Chase [Young] as well," Durant said. "I want to see where they take us and how they develop."
Haskins and Young -- first-round picks by Washington over the past two years -- both played their high school ball in the DMV area before starring at Ohio State in college. The DMV connection has allowed Durant to follow both of their careers for years. Now, he's eager to see what the duo will do for his favorite professional team.
So, how does Durant think Washington will fare overall in 2020?
"I expect us to play hard every possession," Durant said. "Especially on the defensive side of the football. I think that's just going to inspire the offensive side of the ball. Obviously, it takes chemistry to have a connected offense. But I think defensively, it's a place we can get some good footing early and just play with that toughness."
Win, lose, or draw, Durant's fandom for the Washington Football Team will always be there.
"I'm going to be wearing my burgundy and gold proud," Durant said.