Basketball became Durant’s hope of escaping, but he never dreamed it would be as one of the best players on the planet. He wanted to be a rec league coach. He wanted to stay home and help the kids.
His life in basketball took a slightly different path.
And his mom was a big part of the reason why. She would wake Kevin before the sunrise and make him run a hill near their house. Then, there would be pushups. And when Kevin played, Wanda was there on the sidelines, screaming and hollering.
Still, from there to here? To NBA royalty? To basketball greatness?
Durant acknowledged that there were others besides his mom who helped. His brother. His grandmas. His dad. His friends. His coaches. But no one believed in him like his mom.
“The odds were stacked against us,” Durant said, looking again at his mom. “A single parent with two boys by the time you were 21 years old. Everybody told you we weren’t supposed to be here.”
“You made us believe. You kept us off the street, put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us.”
He sniffled again.
“You’re the real MVP.”
Then, the applause began, and they didn’t stop for nearly a minute. KD joined the ovation.
Mama D sobbed, tears covering her cheeks, joy running down her face.
A little while later, after the speeches were done, the questions were answered and most of the people had gone home, she found a seat toward the back of the room. Her son sat on the stage next to his new piece of hardware, a microphone in hand, another interview under way. She shook her head ever so slightly, a can-you-believe-this look in her eyes.
The tears began again.
This mother’s day came a little early.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.