George Overbey just knew he was going to bomb his accounting quiz Tuesday morning.
After the night he had, how could he not?
The 21-year-old Oklahoma State senior had stayed up till 4 a.m. None of those hours were spent cramming. And by the time he plopped down in his 9 a.m. class, Overbey's mind was a magnificent mess, stuck somewhere between sleep deprived and still daydreaming about the one-of-a-kind encounter he'd forever cherish.
Then the professor displayed the first question on the overhead projector.
“What NBA player was here in Stillwater last night playing flag football?”
This one was easy. By now, it seemed the whole campus knew the answer.
The next question appeared.
“What accounting master's student brought Kevin Durant to Stillwater?”
Overbey looked up and saw his name as one of the multiple choice options. Suddenly, he realized this quiz was tailor-made. It wouldn't be the one he'd have to drop from his accounting grade.
That's how life went for Overbey on Tuesday. He was the big man on campus, the man hailed for bringing an NBA superstar to town for one impromptu intramural game of flag football on Monday night.
“I don't know about that,” Overbey said. “I'm definitely the lucky man on campus. I was just lucky to get re-tweeted by Kevin Durant and get to experience his humility and generosity.”
In any other calendar year, Durant wouldn't have been available. But because of the four-month-old NBA lockout, the Oklahoma City Thunder star was looking for fun on Halloween night rather than resting up for his team's scratched season opener.
It all started when Durant posted a random message to his Twitter account early Monday evening.
“This lockout is really boring..anybody playing flag football in Okc..I need to run around or something!” Durant wrote.
Overbey responded, “Got a game tonight in Stillwater!! I need a deep threat!!”
Durant asked, “Can I play?”
Overbey then replied, “Can you catch? We've won the ‘ship for 3 years! Tonight @ 10.” To that, Durant fired back, “forreal?”
Yes, Overbey was for real.
The two continued their conversation via Twitter's private, “direct message” function, exchanging cell phone numbers and other details. Overbey, who was The Oklahoman's 2008 Scholar Athlete of the Year, played high school basketball with Blake Griffin at Oklahoma Christian School. Overbey made sure to notify Durant to his ties to Griffin so the Thunder forward knew he wasn't crazy.
Unfazed, Durant responded with “lol,” the acronym for laughing out loud, and reiterated that he just wanted to play.
Durant, though, had one request. He asked if he could play quarterback. That generally is Overbey's position. But do you really think Overbey, who calls Durant his favorite player, was going to tell the two-time scoring champ no?
“I was like, ‘Dude, you can play whatever position you want,'” said Overbey, who gladly moved to receiver.
So Overbey shipped Durant his address. Durant and two friends left Oklahoma City just before 9 p.m. Overbey provided frequent directions as Durant made his way to Stillwater.
“As he was getting closer, it was kind of sinking in,” Overbey said. “When he told me he was exiting on Highway 51 I was like, ‘Wow, he's only 15 minutes away.'”
Through a friend and teammate who works at a printing company, Overbey had a team T-shirt printed for Durant. It had the team's name, “Sigma Nu” on the front and Durant's customary No. 35 etched on the back with his initials, “KD,” emblazoned above it.
Running late, Overbey and a friend hopped in Durant's black conversion van and jetted to the field.
On the way, the gang first blasted the tricked-out vehicle's stereo system. Then, Durant talked about Oklahoma State's upcoming game against Kansas State and asked when Bedlam is. Later, Durant inquired about when Sigma Nu's next intramural game was. Durant already was looking to set up his next appearance. Overbey told Durant the championship game had been played at Boone Pickens Stadium the past three years, and added Sigma Nu has won the title each of the past three years. Durant said he would return when he got his cleats — a football version of his signature KD IVs.
By the time the van pulled up to the intramural fields just after 10 p.m., hundreds had gathered. They went nuts when Durant emerged.
“That was a pretty cool feeling, just getting out of that van with KD,” Overbey said.
Playing quarterback and defensive back, Durant finished the game with four touchdowns to go with three intercepted passes. The crowd grew to well over 500 by game's end. Some, including Overbey, estimated the crowd to have reached more than 1,000. Durant stuck around to pose for pictures and sign autographs. He soon needed police escorts to make his way back to his van and out of town.
But it was unclear who enjoyed the night more, Durant or everyone else.
“I had soooo much fun at Oklahoma st playing flag football!,” Durant wrote on Twitter shortly after the game. “Shoutout my new buddy @groverbey (Overbey) for inviting me! I threw 4 tds and had 3 ints!!”
Overbey instantly became more popular. His Twitter account added roughly 400 more followers in less than 24 hours. He was sought after for interviews by local television stations and newspapers, as well as sports talk radio stations in Oklahoma City, Texas and Kansas. He even appeared on ESPN, recapping the event to “SportsCenter.”
“That was pretty sweet,” Overbey said.
Overbey initially was hesitant to accept media requests. He felt Durant might not have wanted him to pump life into his random act. But when Overbey texted his newest, most famous friend, Durant gave the green light.
Before hanging up with a reporter at the end of his last interview Tuesday, Overbey interrupted a goodbye to make one request.
Make KD look good.
“To see how a guy that successful, at that age, can be so humble despite having such a presence but still have the character that he does, it's incredible,” Overbey said. “It really is.”