'Overwhelmed' Kevin Durant inducted into Oklahoma Hall of Fame

TULSA, Okla. -- When Kevin Durant was drafted No. 2 overall in 2007, he probably had dreams of finishing up in the Hall of Fame. But probably not the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

On Thursday in a packed banquet hall, with virtually the whole Oklahoma City Thunder organization in attendance, including the entire team, Durant was inducted into said Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

"I was just overwhelmed [when I found out last year]," Durant said. "At 26 years old to be told you're a Hall of Famer at anything, any Hall of Fame at that age is pretty young. I felt pretty good, but I didn't know how to feel. I feel like I can do a lot more. I feel like I've got a long ways to go, but it's still a great honor and I'm just honored to be here. Happy to represent my family and where I come from as well. It's an amazing day."

Durant selected teammate Russell Westbrook to be his presenter.

"That was an easy pick," Durant said. "Somebody that's with me more than anybody, who knows me inside and out. Just wanted to share this night with him."

Westbrook and Durant are in their eighth season together as members of the Thunder, growing into not only the most fearsome duo in the NBA, but two bonded friends as well.

"It just shows that we're brothers, man," Westbrook said of Durant picking him. "Me and Kevin, we're brothers for life. We've grown so much. Two young men, and now we're at a stage in our life where we can communicate and talk to each other each and every day and have that brother relationship."

Durant has been a consistent advocate and ambassador for Oklahoma, most notably when he donated $1 million to the Oklahoma Red Cross following the devastating tornadoes in suburban Moore in 2013.

"I never really do [that stuff] for nights like tonight, but basically growing up here as [a] teenager to a young man, I've been through a lot here," Durant said. "It's just molded me into who I am and everything I've done, whether it's just letting people know where I live at, who I play for. ... It's all from the heart, man. I've been through so much being here and it feels great to be in the Hall of Fame."

With Oklahomans such as College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock, Victoria's Secret CEO Sharen Turney and renowned country music manager Jim Halsey also among the honorees, Durant, a native of Washington, D.C., was certainly a unique inclusion in the 2015 class.

"I've received so many awards from playing basketball," Durant said. "I've done a lot as a basketball player so far. But this one right here is different. Because you actually impact people. I'm just used to doing basketball banquets, but you see so many people that have done amazing things for this state and country. It feels great to be in their company."

Also in attendance was NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who said he couldn't miss an event recognizing the achievements of Durant, both on and off the floor. Silver spent Thursday meeting with the Thunder's basketball operations staff and touring the practice facility.

"I think the Thunder are a case study in how you want to see a league operate where it ultimately becomes about competition and to manage the best franchise, as opposed to competition based on the depth of the owner's pockets or the size of the market," Silver said. "I think the system we put in place five-and-a-half years ago, with the collective bargaining agreement together with revenue sharing, helped to level the playing field."

Of course, there was an elephant in the room the entire night: Durant's pending free agency in 2016. It might be seen by some as a ploy to nudge Durant toward re-signing by including him in the Hall of Fame class, but considering the impact the former MVP has had on the state, it's really not much of a stretch.

Durant kept this speech far shorter than his MVP outing, but he did reference his previous public-speaking engagement.

"My last speech, I had everybody up here that helped me get here," Durant said. "But I don't think this stage could fit everyone from Oklahoma."