A humble, and clearly moved Kevin Durant went straight to God with his thanks, as he accepted the NBA Most Valuable Player award yesterday.
In his 26-minute acceptance speech, the Oklahoma City Thunder forward expressed love to God and many people who helped him along the way, his family, coaches and teammates, friends, fans and supporters included. The moment was an answer to prayer, accord to the superstar, and he relished it as a time to give thanks.
"First of all, I would like to thank God for changing my life," Durant said after sharing with the crowd that he was a bit nervous, the first sign that the upcoming words were important to him.
"He let me really realize what life is all about. Basketball is just a platform in order for me to inspire people, and I realize that," he continued.
Durant then described his childhood in a small county outside of Washington D.C., where his mother raised him and an older brother by herself.
"I've been through the toughest times with my family, but I'm still standing," he said.
Next, he went through and singled out each of his teammates, and talked to them personally, and recognizing why they each, particularly, meant something to him.
He broke down when he talked about how they texted him and reminded him he was an MVP after tough games, or how they believed in him and supported him. He made jokes about their ability to speak English, mixing laughs and tears as he savored the chance to recognize and pay respect to the people who helped him along the way.
"When you got people behind you, you can do whatever," he said, behind tears of joy.
He recognized the ones who led him, and the ones he helps try to lead, too.
"I always want to out work you, and you set the tone, you are an MVP caliber player. You are a large part of this," he said to Russell Westbrook.
He went on to respectfully thank the Oklahoma City organization.
"Our community is blessed to have you," he said.
He thanked the community of fans, too.
"We want to win a championship for you guys," he said, to raucous applause.
And finally, he started to choke up as he thanked and recognized his family. Talking about his brother Tony, first.
"I pray for you every night," he said.
He thanked his father for texting him bible verses every night, and thanked his siblings for keeping him sane.
"Lastly, my mom, I don't know if you know what you did," he said choking up.
"Single parent with two boys by the time you were 21 years old," he said, crying, as he talked about his mother.
"Everybody told us we weren't supposed to be here. We moved from apartment to apartment by ourselves. One of the best memories I had was when we moved into our first apartment. No bed, no furniture, and we just all sat in a room and just hugged each other. That's when we thought we'd made it," he said, giving his mother a great Mother's day gift.
"You're the real MVP," he said, and the room stood and cheered him on.
"Last, I just want to thank God again," he said. "He's the Alpha and the Omega."
Durant earned the award on the court this season by averaging 32 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists a game. He lead his team to victory in a game 2 playoff win against the Los Angeles Clippers last night, and the Thunder face the Clippers again tomorrow night in the playoff series.
To read his complete testimony of a Christian upbringing, click on the link below:
Watch his 2014 NBA MVP full acceptance speech here: