June 1, 2020
By Robert Bloom
Kevin Durant, who has made a name for himself as one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, was born in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 29, 1988.
When Durant was a year old, his father Wayne left the household and spent the next decade going in and out of the family’s life. Growing up in a single-parent household, Durant helped his mother Wanda care for his three siblings and turned to basketball as a way to cope with the challenges he faced.
As a high school student, Durant played for three different schools, but that did not hurt him at all, as he received offers from all the top Division I college basketball teams in the country. Ultimately, he chose to play for The University of Texas at Austin, where he was nothing short of amazing. During his one and only NCAA season, Durant led the Big 12 Conference in scoring, rebounding and blocks. He became the only freshman ever to be recognized as the Consensus National College Player of the Year.
After a stellar freshman season, Durant decided to take his talents to the NBA. The Seattle SuperSonics drafted him as the No. 2 overall pick in 2007. Durant earned the Rookie of the Year Award and averaged 20 points per game, an accomplishment only a select few rookies have ever achieved.
Durant went on to play eight more seasons with the SuperSonics, who then became the Oklahoma City Thunder. He won the 2013-2014 MVP award and led the Thunder to the 2012 finals where the team ultimately lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
After an illustrious career in Oklahoma City, Durant left the Thunder to join forces with the powerhouse Golden State Warriors. Some fans viewed Durant as a traitor because the Warriors defeated the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals the previous season. Durant was called a snake for this move, which caused a rift between his best friend and former teammate Russell Westbrook.
The move to the Golden State Warriors was a smart one for Durant. He won back-to-back finals and back-to-back finals MVP awards, but last year his season ended when he tore his Achilles tendon, and his team went on to lose against the Toronto Raptors.
Thirty-five is the number by which most fans know Durant, but some might not know the meaning behind it. Charles Craig, his travel league coach, was murdered at the age of 35 in 2005. As a result, Durant’s jersey number was 35 until this season when he signed with the Brooklyn Nets and switched to the number seven.
Durant was not able to play with the Nets this season due to his injury, and in March, he was among four Nets players who tested positive for COVID-19. Hopefully, Durant will return to basketball in good health next season so he can continue showing the world why he is, without a doubt, one of the best basketball players of all time.