NBA superstar Kevin Durant is getting tired of being number two, an exalted, yet still second-best rank that’s dogged him since high school. But to his Oklahoma City fans and the city’s tornado victims, “KD” is number one.
Kevin Durant, 25, has already been the NBA’s highest scorer three times. But he’s come in second three times for the league’s MVP; finished second in the NBA Finals when his team lost to the Miami Heat; he was number two in the NBA draft; and he says he was the second-best player on his high school team. He’s tired of it. “…People would just always say that it’s cool, you’re top three, that’s cool. That’s good to be there. It’s alright to be a top-three player in the world…I mean…I’m just tired of settling for that, tired of saying that, tired of hearing it,” he tells Brown.
In Oklahoma City, where fans were tired of the fact pro sports have largely ignored their town, Kevin Durant is the main reason the Chesapeake Energy Arena is nearly always full. In addition to almost bringing home a major pro sports championship last season, Kevin Durant has embraced the city as his family. He secretly gave a million dollars to victims of the tornados that hit the city last spring, a secret that got out, annoying the donor who wished to remain anonymous. He also volunteered in the clean-up. He had met some of the tornado’s victims in the arena and at community events. “I felt so bad — it was a war zone,” he recalls.
“Humble, he’s very humble,” says a fan. “You can see him anywhere out on the street and he will talk to you, have a conversation. Not just, ‘I’m a big star and I don’t have time for anybody.’ He has time for anybody.”
Some of that humility comes from his upbringing. Brown talks to Kevin Durant’s mother, Wanda Pratt, who took pains to not spoil her sports star son. She came to high school practices. “If the coach said, ‘Kevin, do 25 crab walks,’ I would be like, ‘No, I think maybe you should do 75.’ If he said, ‘50 runs up Hunt’s Hill,’ I said, ‘Well, I think you could do 100,’” she tells Brown. Pratt laughs now about these and other measures she took to get her son to realize his NBA dream. “Now I’m like, ‘Wow, that was cruelty.’”
Durant looks forward to another shot at a championship, a chance to be number one. “I think about the future a lot. What steps I have to take now for us to maybe be a championship team,” he tells Brown. But Kevin Durant acknowledges a recent announcement about his private life likely means another number-two status — permanently.
Kevin Durant talks to James Brown about his career, his mother who drove him to succeed and his new hometown, for a profile on the next edition of 60 Minutes Sports, premiering Wed., Dec. 4 at 10PM, ET only on Showtime.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and RSS Catch him Tuesdays talking Illini and Northwestern for KOZN 1620 The Zone, Fridays talking Chicago Bears for WAOR 95.7 The FanPowered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks