The 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors — and the 2016 runner-up — held a press conference Thursday (07/07/2016) to introduce their newest addition and blockbuster free agent signee, former MVP and four-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant.

And the rich get richer.

In o’-so-many-ways.

Durant is not your prototypical superstar.

He is wise well beyond his 27 years.

Hailing from D.C., he attended the University of Texas for just one year and then declared — — emerging as the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, selected by the Seattle Supersonics.

His professional resume is glittering: 2014 NBA MVP; 7x NBA All-Star (2010–2016); 5x All-NBA First Team (2010–2014); All-NBA Second Team (2016); NBA Rookie of the Year (2008); NBA Rookie Challenge MVP (2009); 4x NBA Scoring Champion (2010–2012, 2014); 50–40–90 Club — FG % — 3 PT FG % — FT % (2013).

He was the FIBA World Championship MVP (2010) toiling for the Gold Medal-winning USA, and in the same year Durant was named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.

He won another Team Gold Medal for Uncle Sam in the 2012 Olympic Games (London).

But more importantly than his seemingly endless stream (flood?) of accolades is the well-documented belief that the pensive and thoughtful Durant is a kind and decent human being.

Never mind that in an endorsement frenzy, Foot Locker released a number of commercial ads proclaiming him “the nicest guy in the NBA.”

Or that in partnership with KIND SNACKS, was launched in an effort to clearly demonstrate that “being kind is not a sign of weakness.”

Durant is a philanthropist.

In 2013 he pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross — a donation which was matched by both the OKC Thunder and Nike — for the victims of the 2013 Moore (OK.) tornado which killed 24 and injured 377 on May 20th. of that year.

KD is also a spokesperson for the Washington, D.C. arm of P’Tones Records, a national non-profit after-school music program.

So it comes as no surprise that Warriors GM Bob Myers who described KD as that one-in-million mega-star actually “worth putting on a pedestal as a person,” (courtesy of Karen Crouse NYT 07/08/2016) remarked during the press conference, “I’m so honored you chose us to play for. It’s a wonderful feeling, so thank you.”

Durant himself used the words “organic” and “authentic” in characterizing the tenor of his decision, further stating that it all came about from “a feeling I couldn’t ignore.”

These are the words of somebody comfortable in their own skin, surely at least in part due to his upbringing and the fantastic relationship he enjoys with his mother, Wanda (see Lifetime movie The Real MVP: The Wanda Pratt Story).

But Durant is also one who likes to push personal boundaries.

To wit:

“I think this is the hardest road because I don’t know anybody here, I’ve never lived in this community, never played for this team, and I took a leap…and it’s not the easiest situation because I’m out of my comfort zone.”

In this context, it’s difficult to reconcile the naysayers’ claim that KD is simply seeking a straighter shot to his first NBA championship, with the essence of the man himself.

He seems to be a superstar person which far eclipses his lofty status as a player.

[Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Mr. Kaplan in July 2016.]

ADDENDUM: Kevin Durant was a 2x NBA champion with Golden State (2017, 2018); a 2x NBA Finals MVP (2017, 2018) & has been a 4x NBA scoring champion (2010–2012, 2014).

After his stint with the Warriors, Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets on July 7, 2019, in a sign-and-trade deal.

He suffered an Achilles tendon injury in the 2019 NBA Finals.

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