Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
No matter how far away he is from where he grew up, Kevin Durant has maintained his connection to the community and people who helped shape him into the person he is today.
In fact, his ability to remain connected to the realities of his childhood experiences, motivated Durant to invest $10 million dollars over the next ten years to help children with similar backgrounds reach and surpass their goals of higher education.
On Wednesday, while back in his hometown for a game between the Washington Wizards and his Golden State Warriors, instead of practicing for the game, Durant was excused to attend the opening of his eponymous educational and leadership facility, The Durant Center.
"At an early age, I started to realize how much this [basketball] will alter and change my life,” Durant told the Mercury News. “I had so many people that made sure I was focused, determined and disciplined with the task at hand. I wanted other kids to have the same type of every-day discipline.”
The center, which is located in Suitland, Maryland, is situated in the same area where Durant overcame obstacles in order to develop and cultivate his own dreams. The facility, whose mission is to remove barriers and provide children with the support necessary to attend and finish college, is the result of a collaboration between his foundation, The Kevin Durant Charity Foundation, Prince George's County Public Schools and College Track.
"The full circle stuff that you dream about,” Durant told the Washington Post. “So many people that meant so much to me at that time, and to see my name on the building. Hopefully that inspires kids in the area."
Durant’s commitment to supporting children with the tools, resources and inspiration to help them reach their dreams is as impressive as his basketball career. Just last year he surprised four students in the Bay Area by covering their freshman year tuition. To date, his foundation has built over 14 basketball courts around the country to provide access to high quality basketball courts to underprivileged children. And in 2016 he surprised an unsuspecting young fan from his neighborhood and with a similar background, with the same words of advice and encouragement that helped him remain focused on his goals.
Maya Angelou once said that, "Your legacy is every life that you touch." Whether on the court as All-star, or off the court as a relatable philanthropist and inspiration, Durant's imprint will live on in the children he's going out of his way to reach.