Kevin Durant gets his invitation to play ball with the president

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: November 8, 2010 at 9:20 am •  Published: November 6, 2010

Durant didn't stop there.

He called up teammates Eric Maynor and James Harden. Both had traveled to D.C. to celebrate Durant's birthday, which is Sept 29th but needed to be enjoyed earlier because of the start of the NBA season. Durant surprised Maynor and Harden with the news that they would be playing hoops with the president.

"It was weird because when he called me he just was like, 'Yo, what's your social security number?'" Maynor remembered.

"I was like, 'Man, what you need my social for?' And he said, 'We're going to the White House tomorrow.'"

Durant and Maynor teamed up with Obama. Harden was matched up against the president, with other White House staffers filling out the teams. They played four or five games of full court five-on-five, according to Maynor, and each team won their share.

"It was exciting just to go out there and play basketball with him," Harden said of Obama. "He made a couple of shots. He's left-handed so I learned something from him, too. We had a great time. There were a lot of laughs and we had a lot of fun."

All thanks to Durant.

"To ask us to come, it shows what kind of caring person he is," Harden said. "He doesn't think about himself all the time. He likes to give back to others and help others."

But Durant doesn't need to publicize his good deeds.

The Thunder's trio had purposely kept quiet about their outing with Obama.

On his Twitter account on Sept. 18, Harden gave a quick "shout out" to Durant and Maynor. On the same day, Maynor tweeted an elongated "Wowwwww. Lol," and told upwards of 19,000 followers in parenthesis to not ask why. Maynor followed that up with a random but revealing message.

"I love my LIFE!!!!" Maynor wrote.

Until now, those clues were as close as anyone had come to commenting on Durant's consideration.

And that was just the way Durant had wanted it to be.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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THUNDER VS. CELTICS

When: 6 p.m.

Where: Oklahoma City Arena.

TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722). NBA TV (Cox 256, HD Ch. 726). (Note: Blackout rules apply for the NBA TV broadcast in the Oklahoma City area)

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM.

THREE THINGS TO KNOW

* The Thunder went 1-1 against the Celtics last season.

* Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal is not expected to play tonight because of a bruised right knee.

* Boston's Rajon Rondo is averaging more assists (15.5) than the Thunder (14.4).

PROJECTED STARTERS

Thunder (3-2)

Pos., Player, Ht., Pts., Reb., Ast

G, Russell Westbrook, 6-3, 22.2, 7.0, 6.6

G, Thabo Sefolosha, 6-7, 10.8.4.8, 2.0

F, Kevin Durant, 6-9, 26.4, 7.2, 1.8

F, Jeff Green, 6-9, 19.4, 7.2, 0.6

C, Nenad Krstic, 7-0, 6.2, 4.8, 0.4

Celtics (5-1)

Pos., Player, Ht., Pts., Reb., Ast

G, Rajon Rondo, 6-1, 11.3, 5.5, 15.5

G, Ray Allen, 6-5, 18.0, 3.5, 2.5

F, Paul Pierce, 6-7, 19.3, 7.0, 3.7

F, Kevin Garnett, 6-11, 15.7, 9.8, 1.8

C, Jermaine O'Neal, 6-11, 6.4, 2.6, 0.4

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