OKLAHOMA CITY -- When the Oklahoma City Thunder visited New York a couple of months ago, Kevin Durant was asked specifically what he thought about the city. When Durant was in Boston last week, again, he was asked about the city. The premise is easy to understand: big market, big team, big future free agent. You can piece that puzzle together.
But on Sunday, standing on a red carpet next to his mom outside the front doors of his restaurant in Bricktown, just a few blocks from the arena he currently plays in, Durant stopped to answer a few questions.
One of which being: You get asked about all these other cities, but what about this one?
"It's home," he said. "It's home."
While not answering what he will do come July 1, Durant's response is a reaffirmation of his affection for the place he has called home the past seven years.
"I've always felt that this place meant so much to me," he said. "It has a special place in my heart and my family's heart as well. And we want to do our justice by giving back and giving to the less fortunate. That's how I was raised, that's how my mom taught me, how my grandmother taught me, is to give back. I've been blessed with so much I want to be a blessing on someone else."
Durant's fundraiser is to benefit his foundation, including his "Build It And They Will Ball" initiative, which renovates rundown basketball courts. Recently, Durant opened a new court at North Highland Elementary and plans to open a second neighboring court soon. That's on top of countless other endeavors Durant has had in OKC, including presenting a $35,000 check in November to Positive Tomorrow's, a local program for underprivileged children, to renovate their kitchen.
"Since I've been doing this job, we've walked into the same building every single day," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said of Durant, who he drafted at the age of 18. "I can honestly tell you there's never a day that goes by that I take for granted that I work in an organization that has Kevin Durant representing it. His evolution as a person has been as steady, consistent and impressive as his evolution as a player. And that's quite the statement."