3 min read

Thanks KD, thanks Thunder

Here’s what Kevin Durant has done since a tornado shredded a portion of his city:

  • He gave $1 million less than 16 hours after it happened. And didn’t make a peep he was doing it.
  • He immediately traveled back to Oklahoma to tour the area and meet with survivors and those affected.
  • He reached out to Nike to get them to donate $1 million worth of stuff to relief, as well as the money made from the sell of KD Vs on Nike.com for the next couple weeks.
  • And he says he wants to do more. Probably is, too. We just don’t know about it, because you know, that’s how KD operates.

Short of flying around Earth Superman II style to prevent this from ever happening, there’s not a whole lot more this guy can do. Kevin Durant is a genuine hero. Not just because he swishes jumpers and wins basketball games. He gets it. I’m not typically the kind of person that gets emotional over every little thing, but any time think about KD immediately making that donation or signing pictures for people that had their house blown away, I pretty much lose it. (When he tells that guy “Sorry man” … I’m gonna need a minute.)

It’s not just Durant, of course. A day after, Scott Brooks, Hasheem Thabeet, Jeremy Lamb, Daniel Orton and Russell Westbrook were visiting hospitals, high-fiving adorable little children. While Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins were taking donations at a local TV station.

The next day, they made it into the affected areas and did what KD did. Said they’re sorry, took pictures, said they’re sorry some more and most importantly, were just there. Heroes on the court, and off.

(This picture of Russ, man. It just says so much to me. There’s Westbrook, standing on crutches, a broken basketball player. We all thought him being hurt was the biggest, most horrible thing in the world. But there Westbrook is, head slightly down, shoulders slouched, looking at a house that is truly broken, lives that are truly shattered. Perspective, it’s heavy.)

They wear those shirts that say “Thunder Cares” and they have the commercials. But they care. The really do. They don’t just preach it for good PR. They don’t just read books at elementary schools for photo ops. When they were really needed, when they were called into action, the Thunder were right there.

This city and state have been through a lot of horrible things before. The dust bowl, the 1995 bombing, the 1999 tornado. But we’ve never had the Thunder here to go through it with it. It makes a difference. It just feels like there’s more hope than ever.

There’s a catch to all that “community” talk, though. It means we Okies are close to each other. We might not know each other, but we’re not strangers. We’re Oklahomans. When you hurt, I hurt. It’s the way we are, it’s part of our fabric. And the team gets that. They hurt because we hurt. This isn’t just a city they play basketball in. This is their community.

It’s one thing to say you’re part of the community and print t-shirts with the word blasted across it. And organizationally, I’ve never doubted the Thunder’s good intentions. They’re owned by Oklahomans, so they get it. And Sam Presti is an extremely genuine, kind, honest and thoughtful person.

It’s another thing though for your players to get it. There’s no scouting report for who KD is as a person. There’s no way to really know that he’d be such a perfect fit for this city. You can tell players they have to do their mandatory community service projects where they read and high-five little kids at a school assembly. But Durant did this on his own. He stepped up, on his own. No one prompted him, no one told him he needed to do it. He saw his city was hurting and he showed up. That Kevin Durant, he’s clutch.

It’s never about the image, because KD’s smart enough to know he just has to be himself and let the rest take care of itself. Durant has a way about things where it’s never forced, never put in your face where you feel like you need to question his intentions. It’s always genuine. The way we know is because it’s coming from his heart. You can tell the difference.

I don’t love Kevin Durant because of what he does, because of the points, the game-winners, the dunks, the general being-absolutely-unbelievable-at-basketball thing. Or even because of the donations, the hugs, the autographs or the gestures.

I love for Kevin Durant because of who he is. This is him, and this is what makes him truly great.