Kevin Durant SuccessStory
Only a few players in NBA history possess the shooting prowess of one Kevin Durant. His smooth stroke is unrivaled in today’s game while his 7-foot frame and 7-foot-5 wingspan allow him to shoot above any defender with great ease. Already playing in his 13th season, Durant has more than lived up to the hype and is already expected to go down as one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball.
Kevin Wayne Durant born was in Washington D.C., United States on September 29, 1988. His parents Wanda and Wayne divorced when he was still an infant but Wayne would re-enter his life and become a big factor in his love for basketball. While his parents were divorced, young Kevin was partly raised by his grandmother Barbara Davis.
Durant grew up in Prince George’s County in Maryland which forms the eastern outskirts of Washington. After his father returned, Wayne would accompany his son as he participated in numerous tournaments around the country. At around this time, young Kevin joined the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and joined several teams in the Maryland area.
In high school, Durant attended at National Christian Academy and Oak Hill Academy before finishing in Montrose Christian School for his senior year. He then committed to the University of Texas after receiving offers from numerous universities including Duke and Kentucky. By the time he entered college, he had already grown 6 ft. 7 in.
During his lone year in Texas, Durant averaged 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds in 51 games for the Texas Longhorns. The team entered the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament as the fourth seed but was upset by USC in the second round. Individual honors soon followed Durant after the Longhorns exited the tournament, including the John R. Wooden and Naismith College Player of the Year awards. Up to this day, Durant is the only freshman to win any of the mentioned national player of the year awards. He then declared for the NBA draft and was drafted with the second overall pick by the Seattle SuperSonics.
During his rookie season at the age of 19, Durant averaged 20.3 points and 4.4 rebounds. He was also named won the Rookie of the Year, joining only LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony as the only teenagers to average 20 points over an entire season.
The SuperSonics then moved to Oklahoma City the following season and the team was promptly renamed to Oklahoma City Thunder. While a player for the Thunder, Durant would rise to become one of the best players in the league. He would then form a lethal partnership with Russell Westbrook and James Harden who were drafted in 2008 and 2009 respectively. During the 2011-2012 season, the trio led the Thunder in scoring, rebounds, and assists and launched the team into the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, Oklahoma’s big three would fall to the LeBron James-led Miami Heat with the Heat winning the series 4-1.
Durant and Westbrook would carry more of the scoring and playmaking load in succeeding seasons as Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season. Although it was considered as one of the most talked-about trades in NBA history, the trade would benefit neither team as both failed to win a championship let alone make a finals appearance. Thunder fans also criticized the deal as they believed that management had not done enough to keep Harden, specifically signing him to a more favorable contract.
Aside from the 2014-2015 season, Durant played more than a third of regular season Thunder games and was a major contributor to the team during the playoffs. He would win his first regular-season MVP in 2014, averaging 32 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists while becoming the youngest player to have the most number of consecutive 25-point games since Michael Jordan (41 games).
2-Time Finals MVP
After a heartbreaking loss to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 Western Conference Finals, Durant would leave the Thunder to sign with the same team that he just fought against in the West Finals, the Warriors. Unsurprisingly, the decision caused major backlash from fans and media alike as they believed that Durant took the easy route in his quest to win his first championship, especially going to a West Coast rival. Golden State had made Durant a top free-agent target as they just lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals and was looking for additional reinforcements.
It turns out that with Durant’s caliber, Golden wouldn’t need many reinforcements as the team would steamroll opponents on a regular basis. He was also paired with fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green of whom the three had won a championship together in 2015. Although the free agency controversy would follow Durant through his entire stay with the Warriors, the jeers never really affected his performance on the court. Together with Curry and Thompson, Durant would put on an offensive clinic game-in and game-out with the three alternating in putting big offensive numbers.
After carrying the Thunder for over nine seasons with no championship to show, Durant finally claimed his first NBA title with the Golden State Warriors in 2016. He also claimed his first Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy, averaging 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in five games against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The finals matchup didn’t just become a rematch between the Warriors and the Cavaliers but also a rematch between Durant and James from the 2012 NBA Finals.
Golden State’s dominant postseason (finishing 14-1, joint best in NBA Finals history) would carry over the following year. Durant again led the Warriors in scoring and the team coasted throughout the regular season and the playoffs. One major roadblock then presented itself in the form of Durant’s former teammate, James Harden. Similar to the Warriors, the Houston Rockets had been a title contender all season long thanks to Harden and All Star Chris Paul who had recently been acquired via trade. The Warriors eventually managed to edge out the Rockets in a grueling seven-game series with Golden State crawling back from a 3-2 deficit.
Golden State then faced Cleveland in the finals, the fourth consecutive finals matchup between the two teams. Very much like the previous year, the Warriors dominated the Cavaliers with Durant and Curry leading the scoring. The series ended with a sweep and Durant winning his second-straight Finals MVP. Already a lethal shooter during his Thunder days, Durant’s efficient and explosive shooting with the Warriors together with two championships and MVP trophies only cemented his case as a future hall of famer.
Injuries would hit Durant during his third and final year with the Warriors, particularly a suffering broken Achilles tendon during Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. Golden State went on to lose to the Toronto Raptors in six games and Durant entered free agency for the second time in his career. He had previously signed a two-year, $61.5 million contract at the start of the season but with the contract stating he was free to leave after the first year, he decided to exercise that option and go on to sign with the Brooklyn Nets.
Brooklyn Super Team
Compared to his much-criticized move to Golden State in 2016, Durant signing with the Brooklyn Nets no longer resulted in a flurry of backlash from fans and media personnel. Many noted he had already achieved great success with the Warriors while also appreciating his move to sign with a team that isn’t considered a “rival.” Durant inked a four-year, $164 million contract that would see him sport a Nets uniform until he’s around 34 years old. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving was also brought on board with a four-year, $141 million deal but he and Durant would not play a single minute of basketball together in the 2019-2020 season as they were both still recovering from major injuries.
As the 2020-2021 season commenced, fans finally got a taste of Durants’ Brooklyn Nets debut alongside Irving who only played 20 games the prior season. James Harden was also brought in via trade, reuniting him with Durant whom he had great chemistry with as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder between 2009 and 2012.
Playing again with two superstars, Durant has found himself in another super team but now in the form of the Brooklyn Nets. Although the trio has only played six games thus far, they have already imposed their will on opposing teams. The Brooklyn Nets have currently won 10 out of their last 11 games and sit second at the Eastern Conference standings. Critics have already predicted the Brooklyn Nets to win it all as long as their superstar trio remains healthy throughout the playoffs.
Aside from being a two-time champion, Durant also has a long list of achievements throughout his 14-year NBA career. He has been voted to the All-Star team 11 times and has won the All-Star MVP twice. He is also named as part of the All-NBA First Team six times (2010-2014, 2018) and the All-NBA Second Team thrice (2016, 2017, and 2019).
Durant has also found great success on the national stage, representing the United States on multiple occasions during the FIBA tournaments and the Olympics. After being cut in the 2007 squad, Coach Mike Krzyzewski handpicked Durant to lead Team U.S.A. during the 2010 FIBA World Championship. The United States easily won the tournament and it would be the country’s first FIBA trophy since 1994. Durant was also named the tournament’s MVP.
Durant was again selected for the 2012 Olympics, pairing up with Thunder teammates James Harden and Russell Westrbook as well as superstars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Chris Paul. Team U.S.A. would go undefeated the entire tournament and beat Spain in the finals. Durant would make his last appearance for the United States basketball team in 2016, leading the team to another undefeated run in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Durant has three siblings, a sister named Brianna and two brothers Tony and Rayvonne. He is very close with his mother Wanda as it was his mother who mostly raised him and his siblings when they were younger. During his MVP speech in 2014, Durant dedicated the award to Wanda whom he called the “real MVP.”
Durant was previously engaged to WNBA player Monica Wright. They have known each other since high school but called off the engagement some time in 2015.
Even if Kevin Durant decides to retire right now, there is nothing that can stain his legacy as a superstar basketball player that has dominated the league for over a decade. But it appears that his career is far from over and there may even be a few more championships left on the horizon.