Millions of people know of Kevin Durant. Over 6 million follow the MVP candidate on Twitter. Nearly 1.4 million voted him to his fifth All-Star selection this season. He is one of the most popular figures in professional sports and has a modest demeanor that makes fans feel like they can connect with him, even if they have only watched him play on TV.
But who is Kevin Durant to those who really get to know him? The ones who are with him from training camp through the playoffs, for the practices, the long road trips, the day-to-day grind.
The Oklahoma City Thunder chimed in to share five things only they know from playing with him and spending so much time around him.
He’s far more than just a scorer
“The coolest thing about Kevin is I think he’s grown up a lot as a basketball player,” Nick Collison said to Basketball Insiders. “I think he’s learning now to do a lot of other things. He started out trying to learn how to score and he’s obviously really good at that – best in the world – but he’s picked up a lot of the other things, too. He’s a good passer, better defender, better leader, does a lot of other things now. I think he holds himself accountable, first of all, and then he’s trying to think of ways to help everyone else play better. Sometimes that’s passing the ball, other times that’s talking to guys on the side, trying to pick guys up, but he’s trying to think of ways he can help everybody.”
He may have a future on Dancing With The Stars
“He loves to dance, any kind of dance,” Royal Ivey, who played with the Thunder on a 10-day contract said. “When the music comes on he’ll bust a move. He’s a pretty good dancer at seven foot. [He’ll dance] in the locker room, at his house, in the confinements of his privacy. Only in privacy he likes to dance. [His best style of dance is] probably hip hop. A little jazz, a little modern, he can do it all. Any southern rapper with a good beat he can dance to. … And he can rap. [I would compare him to] 2 Chainz.”
He’s a great cheerleader
“He’s a great teammate just because when he’s on the sideline, he’s one of our biggest cheerleaders,” Jeremy Lamb said. “He’s in the game a lot so when he comes out he thinks it’s really important to cheer us on. That’s huge for us. He’s one of the best players in the game and for him to cheer for us like that, to me, that makes him a great teammate. You can learn a lot from him. He’s a good guy and he looks out for everybody. He’s not the type to just get his; he makes plays for everyone. You can talk to him if you have any questions. All the fame and all that hasn’t gone to his head.”
He knows when, and how, to have fun
“He’s a kid. He’s a big kid,” Hasheem Thabeet said. “He’s a fun guy to be around. We’re all big kids and he’s one of us. He goes with the flow. When it’s time to work, we work. When it’s time to joke around, we joke around. This is a great big family and he’s one of the kids. It’s very important [that he keeps things light in the locker room]. We put a lot of trust in each other. We hang out with him, we joke around and all that, but when it comes to work, he’s focused and everybody has to follow. For him to be a leader and do the things he does is great for the team.”
Stardom hasn’t changed him
“What makes him awesome to me is that he’s relatable,” Andre Roberson said. “He’s a young guy (25 years old), still learning just like I am, and he gives me wisdom into what he’s been through already. He’s just a very humble guy, down to earth and he cares about everybody. He seems like he’s a 10 or 12-year [veteran], but he’s in his seventh year. He knows a lot about the game, just with him being one of the premier athletes in this league he always has insight. [Having a young leader helps me] because there’s an easier way of approaching him. I’m not timid to approach him even though he’s a superstar in this league and some guys would be scared. … He’s not a mean or turn-you-away type of guy like some people are in this league. He’s just a great guy, great character, and that’s what this program brings in, great character guys.”