Jenni Carlson

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KD and Me: Fan encounters with Kevin Durant

by Jenni Carlson Published: May 13, 2014

Lots of Oklahomans have had chance encounters with Thunder superstar Kevin Durant.

A SUPERSTAR YOU CAN SET YOUR WATCH BY

By Rob Shahan, Norman

Back in March 2012, my daughter Kennedy and I were volunteers at Kevin Durant’s Charity Ball in Oklahoma City.

Earlier that week, I found a unique watch that I wanted to wear to the event and hopefully get to show him — a watch with a KD image on it. I hatched a plan and decided to wear two watches, an expensive one on my left wrist and the KD watch on my right wrist.

When Kevin walked in, he came over and told my daughter and me hello. I told him, “Mr. Durant, I wasn’t sure which watch I wanted to wear tonight. My nice one ...”

I raised my sleeve to reveal the expensive watch.

“Or my really nice one.”

I raised my sleeve to reveal the watch with his image on it.

Kevin replied, “Aw man, that’s me!”

Then I said, “Here, take it” as it removed the KD watch from my wrist. Kevin said, “Nah, man, I can’t take your watch.”

I told him, “It’s OK, I can get another one,” to which Kevin replied, “Where did you buy it?”

“Walmart.”

Kevin couldn’t stop laughing. He graciously took the watch and actually wore it. He took pictures with us and was very polite and appreciative of the gift. He is an amazing young man and I am proud to have that moment with him.

A PLACE TO LEAVE HIS SHOOTING SHIRTS

By Andrea Sifers, Wetumka

My son, Cooper, was on the court at a Thunder game earlier this season during the national anthem and the player introductions.

After the players high-fived them and were walking back to their seats, Kevin Durant took off three different shooting shirts that were on top of his jersey and dropped them on my son’s head. When my son pulled them off of his head, he looked up at Kevin and smiled, and Kevin have him a thumbs up.

Coolest night ever.

MAKING A RELOCATED TEXAN WELCOME IN OKC

By David Pattee, Austin, Texas

In 2012, my family relocated from Oklahoma City to Austin, Texas.

We are huge Sooner and Thunder fans. My son Trent, 9 at the time, was devastated that we were moving away from all his friends and into enemy territory.

In an attempt to cheer him, we took him to the 2012 playoffs Game 4 against the Spurs. While shooting hoops in the breezeway, Trent was selected as an honorary captain for the game. He was able to meet Kevin Durant and have his shirt signed at mid-court. He refused to allow Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to sign his Thunder ball.

He still describes his meeting of KD as the best moment of his life and it made his move to the Austin area much easier to handle, especially with all the KD fans down here.

A BIRTHDAY VISIT THAT MADE KD’S DAY

By Melissa Richey, Marketing coordinator at The Children’s Center in Bethany

Ramarcus Ervin … had one very special birthday wish.

“At the time of birth, Ramarcus was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy called nemaline myopathy,” Rafael Ervin, Ramarcus’ mother, said. “It attacks the fibers in your muscles including the muscles you use to breathe.”

The doctors gave Ramarcus a life expectancy of three months. Fifteen years later, Remarkable Ramarcus is defying the odds. To help him breathe, he uses a ventilator. He requires 24-hour care due to his medical condition.

Ramarcus has been a patient at The Children’s Center since he was 2 months old. He is cognitively able to understand and communicate through technology provided by his special education teachers at The Children’s Center.

“I knew that Ramarcus really loved basketball, and when the Thunder came to Oklahoma City, we would watch clips of the game after we finished our class work,” Ramarcus’ special education teacher Camilla Dadulo said.

For Ramarcus’ birthday, The Children’s Center tweeted a special message on Twitter in hopes of reaching Kevin Durant, Ramarcus’ favorite NBA player.

“I was on Twitter before my game, and I saw pictures of him wanting to meet me with all his Thunder gear,” Durant said. “I didn’t know he was in Oklahoma.”

A little over 24 hours later, Kevin Durant was walking the halls of The Children’s Center.

“I wanted to come here and wish him a happy birthday,” Durant said. “I see all his Thunder gear and it makes me feel good. My day is made.”

THE SCAVENGER HUNT OF A LIFETIME

By Chris Jacks, Edmond

When the Thunder and KD first moved to OKC, he rented a house in my neighborhood.

He always seemed personable and would wave, driving around in his tricked out van or his Maybach.

One day the neighborhood boys, all about 8, had a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood. One of the items on the scavenger hunt was to get a Thunder player’s autograph. At the time, Jeff Green lived in the neighborhood as did a couple of other players and Scott Brooks. One of the groups of boys decided to go over to KD’s house and see if they could get his autograph. They knocked on the door, and he was happy to sign for them — but then told them to come back in a few hours as he had practice.

The boys came back later that evening, and KD had team signed basketballs for each of the kids.

We are lucky to have KD in OKC.

A HUSBAND’S LAST COMPLAINT ABOUT LONGHORN PRIDE

By Tori Raines, University of Texas graduate, Oklahoma City

Lots of Oklahomans have had chance encounters with Thunder superstar Kevin Durant. Here are a few of their stories:

I’m a Texas graduate who moved to OKC in 2006.

As a Texas transplant, I kept Longhorn stickers on my vehicle for several years. My husband — an OU grad — used to gripe at me when we would drive places that he’d get some dirty looks or honks and how unfair it was since he was a Sooner.

One day, we were on Northwest Expressway, and we heard loud honking. Hubby rolled his eyes and said, “Gee, thanks, Tori. Your dumb stickers have done it again.”

Then, we looked out the window and there’s Kevin, windows rolled down on his Maybach, shooting us the Horns, yelling, “Yay! Hook ‘Em!” and grinning ear to ear.

That was the last time my husband complained about my Longhorn pride.

I’ve had the chance to see a game from courtside, and I’m not gonna lie, there was a tiny glimmer of hope Kevin would see me and think, “Hey, there’s that nice fellow Longhorn!” Obviously, that didn’t happen, but I do still tell everyone about my run-in with greatness.

COMING TO THE AID OF AN INJURED CAMERAMAN

By Mark Voyles, Freelance television cameraman, Oklahoma City

We were striking our cables because the TV truck goes to another arena. I was walking just between the visitors TV announcers’ position and the visitors’ bench … and I tripped. Sometimes, the stands aren’t put together very well. A little tiny rise. It was so stupid. But I tripped on it.

Luckily, the cleaning crew was being proficient. I went face first into a bag of trash. But on the way down, I tried to catch myself on the chairs. And I caught my finger somehow … and broke my ring finger on my right hand.

About that time, KD was out on the court … and saw me fall. He came over, “You OK?” I had my finger against my chest, holding it against my chest, knew I’d broke it. I said, “Well, I think I broke my finger.” He goes, “Let me take you back to the trainer. … I insist. You come back with me.” I told him, “Who am I to turn down the leading scorer in the NBA?”

I followed him back to the trainers’ area. We had small talk along the way. He leaves at a table … and goes back to look for the trainer. He brings the trainer out and says, “OK, take care, man.” He went on his way and left me with the trainer.

Someone asked me to give them one word of who KD is. I said, “Genuine.”

GOING TO THE MOVIES TO FIND OUT ‘KEVIN IS FOR REAL’

By Ali Cameros, Oklahoma City

Last month, some of my friends and I decided to watch “Heaven Is for Real” at Harkins Theater in Bricktown.

Once inside, we noticed there was a group of people that seemed very excited. I turned to see what the fuss was about, and to my surprise, it was the one and only Kevin Durant. Keeping my cool, I asked for a picture and made a little conversation with him. When I asked what movie was he there to watch he said, “Heaven Is for Real”.

Never did I think he was going to sit behind me.

I love his humbleness and his love for Christ. He is a true leader in every way.

I can say my year has been made. When I am around friends watching a game, I make sure to brag about it just a bit.

THE ‘BIGGEST’ MID-AMERICAN CHRISTIAN BASKETBALL FAN

By Levi Convirs, Newcastle

I’ve had the privilege of being around Kevin Durant multiple times in the last four years.

I’m the sports information director at Mid-America Christian University, and for three seasons, we had Camilo Valencia as our point guard, who was James Harden’s roommate. Harden came to quite a few of our games along with KD, Russell Westbrook, Eric Maynor.

KD was extremely gracious to everyone who came up to him. When he first came to the gym, it was at our scrimmage against Connors State, and there was a huge buzz when he walked in. I was up top trying to get the camera to work, but it didn’t take long when I came down to know what the buzz was about. At first I thought it was really cool having all of them here, but I figured they’d leave as soon as the game was over to avoid the rush. To the contrary, they stuck around quite a while and made sure to greet everyone that came up to them.

KD did the same thing at another one of our games, sticking around press row and even visiting quite a while after the game was over, clearly in no hurry to leave.

When KD was hanging with all of us, I’m thinking, “One of the best players in the NBA and a future MVP and champion is just chilling like a complete normal person.” As an SID, when I’m in my element, I try to stay professional, but in my mind, I’m thinking how cool this really is.

THE DAY DURANT CAME TO MOORE

By Tim Kraeger, a recently retired Oklahoma City police officer who lost his home in the May 20 tornado last year

The day of the storm, I was on duty.

My wife, her mom who’s 82 and my 18-year-old son were inside the house. I knew what was happening, and I knew when I was at work that the storm kind of went right through my house.

Our house was at 204 SW 145th Street. There was very little left.

The storm was on Monday. We didn’t even go over there on Tuesday, and then … Wednesday afternoon … I bet we weren’t two hours or three hours into it when Kevin showed up. There were some people from the Thunder helping me. I worked the Thunder games. I knew Kevin a little. Not a whole bunch. But I’d met him before.

I dang sure didn’t expect Kevin Durant to come walking up. That was a shock.

Probably about 25 to 30 minutes, we talked, him encouraging us. He said sorry, and I told him, “It’s all right. You just pick yourself up and move on. That’s the second one I had that destroyed one of my houses.” I had May 3.

It meant a lot. It’s Kevin Durant. He’s here at our house. It offers inspiration. It offers that there’s hope.

He didn’t have to walk through those neighborhoods. They dropped everything they were doing because Kevin Durant was there. It made them forget what was going on for a little bit. Even if it was 20 minutes, it was 20 minutes they didn’t have to feel sorry that all this happened to them.

It was a bright spot for them for that day.



by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
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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