SEAT PLEASANT – The sidewalks of Seat Pleasant Drive were absolutely packed as a silver corvette slowly made its way down the street carrying an NBA champion and the Larry O’Brien Trophy. It may not have been the championship parade that the Washington D.C. area may have dreamed of just a year ago when Kevin […]
SEAT PLEASANT – The sidewalks of Seat Pleasant Drive were absolutely packed as a silver corvette slowly made its way down the street carrying an NBA champion and the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
It may not have been the championship parade that the Washington D.C. area may have dreamed of just a year ago when Kevin Durant hit free agency, but the parade and Kevin Durant Day reflected the excitement the MVP’s hometown had to welcome back one of the most famous products of Seat Pleasant and Prince George’s County.
“I appreciate the love and support,” Durant said during a ceremony in the local community center. “It’s amazing.”
An estimated 20,000 people braved the heat and hit the streets to get a glance of Durant as he made his way down Seat Pleasant Drive. Members of the media and volunteers forcing the crowd to keep at a distance surrounded Durant, but that didn’t stop passionate fans from pushing as close to Durant as possible, passing him hats, shirts and basketballs to sign.
“I’m pretty excited to finally meet Kevin Durant,” said Jalen Richards-Alleyne, a ninth grader who plays on Team Durant, a youth sports team sponsored by its namesake.
“I’m very excited to meet Kevin Durant and to celebrate him coming home,” said Makhai, a fourth grader on Team Durant.
Children and adults alike screamed from the sidewalks to momentarily grab the attention of the NBA superstar and walked with the procession along the two mile-long parade route. Richards-Alleyne said Durant coming home to celebrate the Golden State Warriors championship victory meant the world to Seat Pleasant, especially to the children in the town.
“This means that, to me, anyone from anywhere could succeed if they work hard and put their mind to it,” Richards-Alleyne said. “If I work as hard as he did, maybe I could play as well as he did.”
“It feels so special that the NBA Finals MVP is coming to see us,” Makhai said. “He’s from here and a lot of people want to meet him. He’s so good.”
The day marked not only the celebration of an NBA champion coming home, but also celebrated how much the basketball star has given back to his community. Earlier in the year, Durant funded new basketball courts for the activity center in Seat Pleasant, to the tune of nearly $60,000. He also sponsors local sports teams through donations of sports equipment. In fact, the city estimated Durant has invested nearly $1 million into his hometown.
“Especially now, with so much going on in our country and our world, so much negative stuff going on, we leaned on each other in this building (the activity center) and we raised some pretty amazing kids here,” Durant said. “Thank you so much, I owe you guys way more than you owe me.”
Durant’s mother Wanda echoed those sentiments and said her son has never forgotten where he came from.
“This is home,” she said. “You can’t forget home. You go away because you have to become successful yourself; you always have to remember where you come from, because these are the kids that look up to my son and know that they can do it as well. That’s what’s important.”
Wanda said she always asked Durant to give more than what’s expected and she has seen him do that both in his athletic career and in his philanthropy.
“It started here and this is where the hard work started over 20 years ago. To see him come to this point in his career, it’s quite overwhelming, it’s fulfilling, it’s exiting, it’s rewarding and it’s great to celebrate it here at home where it all started,” Wanda said.
Check out a gallery of the celebration here: https://thesentinel.smugmug.com/PG/Kevin-Durant-Day/