On Wednesday, Kevin Durant had a career night with 47 points and 18 rebounds.
On Thursday, he was named an All-Star starter for the first time.
The awards and accolades just keep pouring in for the Thunder’s fourth-year star. Since being drafted second overall in 2007, Durant has won Rookie of the Year, led the league in scoring, earned All-NBA First Team honors, carried his team to the playoffs, finished as runner-up in MVP voting, carried Team USA to a gold medal in the FIBA World Championship and, last but not least, won back-to-back H-O-R-S-E competitions.
What’s been the most impressive? Our panel tackles that topic in today’s question of the day.
What has been the most impressive achievement in Kevin Durant’s career?
Making Oklahoma City forget about Chris Paul. Folks here loved that guy when the Hornets were in town. Could they ever be so smitten with another? Um, yes. Kevin Durant has won people over with his game and his personality. He has that hard-working, credit-deferring style that is beloved here. That he was able to come in and capture hearts in Oklahoma City so quickly speaks to his talent and his persona.
Kevin Durant’s most impressive achievement thus far has been his acceleration into the NBA’s holy of holies. Think about it. When it comes to NBA superstardom, Durant ranks only behind LeBron and Kobe. Durant already has passed Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, all those Celtics, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash and whoever else I’m leaving out. I would say Durant, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard are about even at No. 3 on the list. And Durant is just in his fourth season and hasn’t even won a playoff series yet. Amazing. But that’s a testament to his skill, his demeanor and his attitude. He’s what everyone is looking for.
Kevin Durant is a franchise’s dream, not only for what he does on the court but for what he doesn’t do off it. This guy doesn’t mess up. Ever. He doesn’t even mis-tweet. There isn’t an athlete out there who hasn’t messed up at least once on Twitter — except Kevin Durant. This kid has the entire state of Oklahoma in the palm of his hand, and he went to the University of Texas. This is bordering on ridiculous.
Leading his team to the playoffs at age 21 brands Kevin Durant as a winner, the most coveted distinction for any athlete. It’s the mark of an elite player. It puts him in the same club as Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett. And it sets him apart from other young stars. Isiah Thomas didn’t do it. Dirk Nowitzki didn’t do it. Paul Pierce didn’t do it. Kevin Durant did, and proving himself as a leader and a winner before his 22nd birthday is clearly his most impressive accomplishment.
Cue Frank Sinatra because Durant’s biggest achievement to date isn’t anything he’s done on a basketball court. Durant’s most impressive feat is how he’s done it his way. Durant has dared to be different and been unafraid to step away from the status quo. That’s no simple task when you walk into the big business world of professional basketball as an 18-year-old pup. Durant has remained true to himself, his family and his friends. The glitz and glamour of the NBA has not changed him. He loves the game, not the lifestyle, and remains as gentile a superstar as you will ever meet. Everyone, from fans, to media members, to arena employees, to teammates to coaches and front office staffers, seemingly can tell a heartwarming story about something gracious and genuine Durant has done for them. That’s who he is. And none of the awards or accolades has tarnished that tremendous trait. Like Sinatra, Durant has faced it all and stood tall and done it his way.