One of the NBA’s deadliest scorers, a two-time champion and Finals MVP and league MVP, Kevin Durant breathes rarified air. He can score from anywhere on the court and his length makes him nearly unguardable. He is willing to take the big shots at the end of games.
Durant grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a community east of Washington D.C. His father left him, his mother and siblings when he was a baby, forcing his mother to raise them alone. He was always tall for his age, reaching six foot by middle school. He attended three high schools, including powerhouse Oak Hill Academy for his sophomore and junior year. Durant attended the University of Texas for one year where he starred on the team, averaging almost 26 points and 11 rebounds per game. He declared for the 2007 NBA Draft after his freshman year, going 2nd overall to the Seattle Supersonics. He became the face of the franchise reeling off losing sharpshooter and franchise player Ray Allen in a trade that year. He was with the team when they relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008 and was the team’s all-time leading scorer before leaving in free agency in 2016.
Durant was a media darling early in his career, always willing to answer questions and neve causing issues. In the 2014 NBA season, he was named league MVP and broke down into tears when thanking his mother, calling her “the real MVP.”
He was heavily criticized for his move from the Thunder to the Warriors, who barely beat Durant in the Western Conference Finals just two months before in a series that the Thunder collapsed. Since that decision, he has viewed the media and social media as the enemy, constantly short-tempered when asked questions and getting defensive easily. He has two championships with the Warriors, somehow elevating his game in the process, and is a free agent this summer.
Regardless of how he is viewed on the court, off the court remains where Durant shines. He has his hands in many business ventures and investment opportunities. But none of them mean as much to him as the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation. Its mission is to “enrich the lives of at-risk youth from low-income backgrounds through educational, athletic and social programs. In 2015, he launched the BUILD IT AND THEY WILL BALL Courts Renovation Initiative to increase exercise and basketball participation for underprivileged youth. Courts were built all over the world in 13 different cities. The foundation opened an education center, The Durant Center, in Prince George’s County. The educational and leadership center will devote time and resources to developing a more promising future for kids that grew up in poverty like Durant. There is a 10 year, $10 million partnership commitment with College Track’s college completion program for his hometown. For his philanthropic efforts, Durant was named ESPN’s 2018 Humanitarian of the Year and NBA’s 2017-2018 Community Assist Award.