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Jenni Carlson: Kevin Durant knows he's got an $87 million mom

by Jenni Carlson Modified: July 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm •  Published: July 9, 2010

A tear slid down Wanda Pratt's cheek as she listened to her baby boy talk about the latest chapter in his NBA fairy tale.

This is an emotional time for Kevin Durant's mom.

"Every time I turn around," she said, "I'm crying."

Rest assured, they're happy tears.

The day after Durant signed a contract extension that will keep him in Oklahoma City through 2015-16 and pay him upward of $87 million, the emotions remained strong at a midday press conference.

It wasn't just his mom, either. The Thunder superstar got misty eyed a couple times, too.

"I was very emotional... " he said, pausing to collect himself, "... these last couple of days."

Sometimes as the dollars signs grow and the bottom lines expand, it's easy to forget that there are people involved in these deals. People who aren't all that different from you and me. People who suddenly find themselves in a place they never dreamed they'd be.

So it is with Durant and his family.

For many years, Durant's mother raised him and his older brother, Tony, by herself. She had the boys when she was still young, 20 or 21 years old, and even though Pratt worked long hours, times were often tough.

Sacrifices had to be made.

"My mom, she always wanted to go back to school," Durant said. "She never really had a chance to finish because of me and my brother."

Instead of her goals, Pratt focused on the ones that her sons had. Being an NBA player was Durant's dream before he was even 10 years old, and when he told his mom about it, she made a promise to help him any way she could so that he could reach that goal.

She was serious about it, too.

She enlisted help from a family friend to coach Durant, running him ragged and laying the early foundation. She drove him to practice. She attended every game. She offered honest and sometimes harsh critiques.

"She's been my toughest critic," Durant said. "Sometimes, I don't want to hear it."

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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