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OKC Thunder: Will marriage change Kevin Durant?

COMMENTARY — The Thunder superstar is engaged, and an expert says he has some challenges ahead.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: July 10, 2013 at 9:30 am •  Published: July 10, 2013

And in the case of the future Mr. and Mrs. Durant, Lankard believes they must be particularly mindful about communicating. Both have pro basketball careers that send them across the country and around the world — Wright has played internationally during the WNBA's offseason — and they will spend much of the year apart.

“I think they'll have to be intentional about keeping connected,” Lankard said.

Skype will be their friend.

But while basketball may keep them away from each other for extended periods, it can also bring them closer. They have known each other since high school, when both were standouts in the Washington, D.C., area. While he only spent a year at Texas, she had a great four-year career at Virginia. Now a fourth-year pro in the WNBA, she's a big-time contributor off the bench for Minnesota.

Pair her with Durant, one of the best two basketball players in the world, and you've instantly got one of the top power couples in the sports world.

Both Durant and Wright know what it takes to be a professional basketball player. Workouts. Practices. Weights. Film. Road trips. Home stands.

“They're more understanding of what's required,” Lankard said of spouses who have the same careers. “There's not as much, ‘I can't believe you're working 12 hours a day.'”

The bottom line, though, is that this marriage will take work. Every marriage does.

But Thunder fans everywhere should be pulling for this union to work, for this to be wedding bliss. Remember, a good marriage is good for Durant, and what's good for Durant is good for the Thunder.

I mean, he was getting serious with Wright this past season, and he had his best year as a pro.


Maybe, but the relationship sure didn't hurt his performance. No reason to think marriage will.

“His game shouldn't suffer,” Lankard said.

Marriage will change Durant — it changes everyone — but it might just be for the better.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at, follow her at or view her personality page at

by Jenni Carlson
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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