THE SCORING CHAMP : Kevin Durant's dunk in this April 14 game against Memphis was part of a 31-point performance that made him the youngest scoring champion in NBA history. At age 21, he averaged 30.1 points.
Pat yourself on the back. This week in Orlando, Durant reminisced about the Laker playoff series in April: "When I walked out on the court for Game 3 and seen that crowd, it was unbelievable. That's something I'm always going to remember.”
The process also included the Thunder culture, which Presti has implemented, with players treated very well but the players responding by working hard and being solid citizens. Durant has been no small part of instilling that culture.
"My teammates, I can't say enough about them,” Durant told our man Darnell Mayberry on Wednesday in Orlando. "I've seen a lot of different guys in the league and I've heard a lot of different stories in the league, but I've never heard a story like ours. How close we are and how young we are and how hard we play.
"My teammates are a big factor in that. I'm just excited to be a part of this organization for a while.”
And all that process led to this week, when the Thunder, a franchise without deep pockets and in a small market, made an $85 million investment in Oklahoma City's NBA adventure. And Durant signed on, he says, one minute after the offer was made.
A significant commitment from team to player. A significant commitment from player to team.
This was an event that is worthy of celebration, perhaps not with a parade but at least with a toast, because it shouts down the skeptics who said Oklahoma City couldn't keep a superstar like Durant. This event stamps the amazing Thunder success as sustainable.
So raise a glass to Presti and chairman Clay Bennett, to the city and to the state, to the fans who spent big money and screamed big cheers, and mostly to the tall 21-year-old who, unlike the other superstars on the NBA stage, is low-key except when he's on the hardwood.
Celebrate the signing of Kevin Durant. Then settle down. The process resumes.
405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.