It is safe to say that the 2013-14 NBA season has been quite kind to Kevin Durant. The NBA’s newly minted MVP, Durant was unstoppable all season. The 6-9 forward led the league in scoring during the regular season averaging 32 points per game, making him the first player to win both the scoring title and MVP award in the same season. Allen Iverson was the last to accomplish that feat during his spectacular 2000-01 campaign.
Kevin Durant is perceived by most as an overall nice guy. A do-gooder on and off the court, it is certainly a breath of fresh air to see a nice guy win the NBA’s MVP award. Strength is generally discussed in the context of dominance and superiority whereas kindness is often viewed as the opposite – a sign of weakness. In addition to Durant’s MVP season, he’s also teamed up with Daniel Lubetzky, founder of KIND Healthy Snacks, in a movement to reveal kindness as the greatest show of human strength.
Did you check out Durant’s MVP Acceptance Speech?
The Kind Brand and Durant are looking for one million people to join them by taking a pledge at strongandkind.com. The proceeds will be used to create specialized education and after-school programming for at-risk youth to teach them how to be strong and kind. “Strong and kind is so authentic to me and who I am as a person,” Durant told The Source.
“It feels near and dear to my heart. I think you have to be really strong to be kind and respectful. Someone who respects your teammates, fans and coaches – just everybody – that’s what makes you a strong individual.”
The OKC Thunder routed the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 7 on Saturday to win their first round series. The Thunder are down 1-0 to the Los Angeles Clippers in round two with game 2 tonight. The NBA’s MVP caught up with Source Sports and offered some anecdotes about life and what he’s learned along the way.
The Source: You’re an MVP. Your name is cemented with the greats: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dr. J, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, LeBron James, David Robinson and Michael Jordan. You grew up watching most of these guys—particularly Michael Jordan. As a basketball player, how important is his legacy to you?
Kevin Durant: Michael Jordan changed the culture of basketball on and off the court. His legacy is much more than just what he’s done with championships. I hope to be able to drive change like he did both on and off the court and follow in the footsteps he laid out.
The Source: What’s some good advice you’ve gotten recently?
Kevin Durant:I had the chance to talk with Karl Malone over all-star weekend—someone I looked up to as a kid. He had some great advice for me in how he approached the game every single day. He was one of the most coachable guys and played the game the right way every time he stepped onto the court. He was the ultimate team player and it’s been great getting to know him. My hope is that I can be like Karl was to me to kids today and be a role model for them to learn how to be strong and kind on and off the court.
The Source: How have you grown in your career?
Kevin Durant: Experience is the best teaching. I’ve been through just about everything in 25 years. I’m one of those guys who has to go through something in order for me to learn and get better from it. I want to go through a certain situation for myself before I ask anyone for anything just to get a feel for it. Through strong and kind, I’m sharing some of the things I’ve learned along the way and hope that others will experience the strength in kindness I’ve seen in my life.
The Source: But do you still have fun playing basketball?
Kevin Durant: I don’t ever want to lose that joy of the game. You are always going to get the criticism and people tell you what you should do. That comes with everything, but I choose to not look at it. I just go out, do what I’m supposed to do and have fun.
Check out KD’s Top Plays From This Season.