Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Name: Kevin Durant
Birthdate: January 1, 1970
Famous Years: 2007-Present
Currently Known For: NBA Champion and One-Time MVP
|Networth: $150 Million||Famous For: Second Overall Pick in the 2007 NBA Draft|
January 1, 1970
NBA Champion and One-Time MVP
Second Overall Pick in the 2007 NBA Draft
Professional athletes come from all walks of life, and Kevin Durant is one of those that had to climb through adversity to reach the top. Durant, who was born on September 29, 1988, had grown up for much of his childhood without his father around, and was raised by his mother and grandmother before his father came back into the picture when he was a teenager.
From a young age, Durant showed a lot of skill on the basketball court, frequently returning to an empty home while his mother was at work. “It was so clear to me at a young age that if you didn’t get up every day and work till it was dark, you weren’t eating,” he said. It was unlikely that Durant was going to have the money to attend college, but in high school he excelled as one of the nation’s premiere amateur basketball players and received scholarship offers from just about every college in the United States.
Durant would end up choosing the University of Texas as the NBA declared that athletes must be one year removed from high school to qualify for the league. Durant was one of the best college basketball players even as a freshman, scoring more than 25 points and pulling in more than 11 rebounds per game. His team didn’t make it past the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but Durant was highly regarded by NBA teams, so he entered the 2007 NBA Draft.
On the night of the draft, Durant was selected second overall behind only Greg Oden, with the Seattle SuperSonics picking up the Texas star. Like his time in college, Durant spent just one year in Seattle as the franchise announced their move to Oklahoma City, renaming themselves the Thunder. Fresh off of his Rookie of the Year campaign, Durant picked up where he left off and was teamed with Russell Westbrook where the two became perennial all stars.
Durant was putting up massive numbers, though his team was having trouble getting over the hump. The Thunder would reach the NBA Finals in 2012, but fell to the Miami Heat despite Durant scoring more than 30 points per game during the series. Still waiting on his team accolades, Durant would secure the highest individual award in 2014 when he was named the league’s MVP thanks to 32 points per game.
The following two seasons, the Thunder would reach the playoffs, but didn’t make it to the NBA finals as they ran into the Golden State Warriors. With his contract in Oklahoma City coming to an end, there had been some talk that Durant might join the team that had knocked him out of the playoffs. The rumors would come true in July 2016 when Durant announced in an article with The Players’ Tribune that he would be signing with the Warriors, calling it “My Next Chapter.”
Durant said that he signed with the Warriors because he needed validation. “At that time in my career, I didn’t know how other people felt about my game,” he said. “And I knew that I was pretty darn good and I knew I worked extremely hard, but I needed that validation from my peers and teams and GMs, people that are really into the game, to really help me feel good about myself and help me feel confident and let me know that what I was doing was working.”
People had been critical that Durant joined the team rather than beating them, but that didn’t get to him as the team found instant success with Durant in the lineup. In his first season, the Warriors would reach the NBA Finals and defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers, earning Durant his first NBA title. The next season, Durant would take a paycut to remain with the team and the Warriors again found themselves in the NBA Finals, playing the Cavaliers for the fourth year in a row.
Durant has been one of the league’s most marketable players, appearing in countless advertisements and receiving endorsements that have made him very wealthy. “To this day, I still can’t believe the luxuries this game has afforded me,” he said. “It’s almost embarrassing at times, but I understand it’s the market for my profession. I appreciate every moment and how lucky I am...I’m also very driven to be as philanthropic as I can be. I don’t think I could enjoy my success without knowing I was doing all I could do to help others.”
Now entering his 30s in 2018, Durant still has a lot of basketball to play, and possibly many more titles to win. Where he’ll be for the 2018-19 season is still up in the air, but it’s expected that Durant will once again restructure his contract to stay with Golden State. Since the team has been highly successful both with and without Durant, it’s a wise place to stay for players that want to win championships.