A basketball player from his earliest days, Durant played for a successful Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) youth basketball team in the PG Jaguars. The Jaguars won multiple national championships with Durant and fellow future blue chip recruits Michael Beasley (Kansas State) and Chris Braswell (Georgetown). Durant wore, and continues to wear, the #35 jersey in honor of his childhood mentor and AAU coach, Charles Craig, who was murdered at age 35. Durant later moved on to play AAU basketball with fellow McDonald's All American
Tywon Lawson (North Carolina) for the DC Blue Devils. During this time Durant also starred for the Oak Hill Academy basketball team, which won the 2005 USA Today National Championship. Durant transferred back home for the 2005-2006 school year to play for Stu Vetter at Montrose Christian School in Rockville, Maryland. At Montrose, Durant led the team in scoring and was named the 2006 All-Met Player of the Year in Boys' Basketball by The Washington Post. Vetter described Durant as a hard working player, complete with size, shooting skills and ball handling skills. Durant also was named a McDonald's All American and named as co-MVP of the 2006 McDonald's All American game along with
Chase Budinger. Behind Greg Oden, Durant was widely regarded as the second-best high school prospect
A 6'9" small forward with a 7'4¾" wingspan, Durant was one of four freshman starters for the University of Texas basketball team. Durant started all 35 games in the season, which culminated with a loss in the second round of the NCAA tournament to University of Southern California. Texas finished third in the conference, with a 12-4 record and was the runner-up in the 2007 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament
Although he had a slender frame, Durant frequently used it to his advantage by posting up bigger players, while shooting over smaller guards. . ESPN analyst Dick Vitale praised Durant as the "most prolific offensive skilled big perimeter" ever and proceeded to compare Durant's game to those of current NBA stars like Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki. After a 35 point, 23 rebound winning performance against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, head coach Bob Knight described Durant as quick, fast and mobile, and being "really good". Texas coach Rick Barnes admitted to rarely calling set plays for Durant, instead relying on Durant himself and on his teammates to find him within the flow of the offense.
Durant was widely hailed by the media as the Big 12's top freshman and a top candidate to be named Freshman of the Year. He averaged 25.8 points per game and 11.1 rebounds per game during his freshman season with the
Texas Longhorns. In Big 12 matches he averaged 28.9 points per game and 12.5 rebounds. His college career high for scoring was 37 points, which he has achieved on four occasions. Durant had twenty 30-point games his freshman year, including a losing effort against Kansas for the regular season Big 12 title.
In March 2007, Durant was named the NABC Division I Player of the Year, and received the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Adolph F. Rupp Trophy, becoming the first freshman to win each of these awards. On March 30, 2007, he was selected as the Associated Press college player of the year, becoming the first freshman and the first Texas athlete to receive this award since its inception in 1961. On April 1, 2007 he became the first freshman to receive the Naismith Award and on April 7, 2007, won the John R. Wooden Award
In late February 2007, Durant received an invitation to the Team USA Basketball training camp, becoming the second freshman after Oden to achieve this
Less than a week after being drafted by the
Seattle SuperSonics, The University of Texas announced the retirement of Durant's #35 jersey. The number will now hang in the rafters at the Frank Erwin Center along with the #11 of former Longhorn great T. J. Ford
Durant declared himself eligible for the 2007 NBA Draft on April 11, 2007 and signed his first professional contract on May 25. His contract was with Upper Deck, Co., who said that Durant will be the focus of their 2007-08 NBA trading card line. Durant was also announced to be the coverboy of the new NCAA March Madness 2008 video game by EA Sports. He is also featured in commercials for EA's NBA Live 2008 video game, alongside Gilbert Arenas.
On June 28, 2007, Durant was taken second overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the
Seattle SuperSonics. In the proceeding month, Durant went on to sign a seven year, $60 million endorsement deal with Nike - a rookie deal only surpassed by LeBron James' contract with Nike. He reportedly turned down a potential $70 million contract with Adidas. He said he chose Nike because he has worn them all his life.
After playing a few games in the NBA Summer League, Durant played in the State Farm USA basketball challenge, scoring 22 points for the Blue team. He played alongside NBA all-stars like LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard. His stay with the team, however, was short lived, as he was dropped from the team when the roster was trimmed to the twelve player limit. Coach Mike Krzyzewski cited the experience of the remaining players as the deciding factor in making the cut
On October 3, 2007, Sonics coach PJ Carlesimo said that Durant would play shooting guard in the NBA, at least for the time being
On October 31, 2007, Durant made his NBA debut with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in a loss to the Denver Nuggets. On November 16, 2007 Durant made his first game winning shot of his NBA career with a key 3-pointer to beat the Atlanta Hawks in double overtime. Durant finished with 21 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks. On November 30, 2007, Durant scored a career high 35 points to beat the Indiana Pacers.
Kevin Durant at the House of Hoops.Following the 2007–08 season, the SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma as the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although Durant was not selected to play in the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix, he did take part in two events. On February 13, 2009, Durant led the Sophomore team to a 122–116 victory over the Rookie side at the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam. He was crowned the MVP for the game after he set the scoring record with 46 points, breaking the old mark set in 2004 when Suns F-C Amar'e Stoudemire had 36 for the sophomores. The next day, Durant came from behind to win the first ever H-O-R-S-E Competition in NBA All-Star weekend history, beating out Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks and O. J. Mayo from the Memphis Grizzlies after getting four quick letters early in the game.
2009 - 2010
Entering the season, the team were not expected to compete for a playoff berth; however, led by Durant, they finished the regular season with 50 wins and earned the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The 27-game improvement from the previous year was the sixth biggest turnaround in NBA history.
Durant won the 2010 H-O-R-S-E contest to win his second in a row. He also made his first All-Star Game appearance, and coached the rookies at the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam. He became the youngest in league history to win the scoring title at 21, averaging 30.1 points per game, beating out LeBron James. Durant also set the modern record for most games in a row with at least 25 points, breaking Allen Iverson's old record.
On April 18, 2010, Durant made his playoff debut with 24 points in a 79–87 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He scored 32 in a 95–92 loss in game 2, but responded with 29 points and 19 rebounds in a 101–96 win at Oklahoma City. He then went on to put up 22 points in the game four win against the defending champs. In game 5, Durant chipped in 17 points as his team lost, 111–87. Game 6 ended the season for the Thunder as Pau Gasol tipped the ball in for a buzzer-beating basket. The Los Angeles Lakers went on to round 2 of the playoffs as they won 95–94. Durant scored 26 points in his last game of the season.
On May 2, 2010, the NBA announced that Durant finished second in the MVP voting for the 2009–2010 season, behind LeBron James.
Durant joined LeBron James as the forwards on the 2010 All-NBA First Team, alongside Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, as announced by the NBA on May 6, 2010. It was his first selection to an All-NBA team.
To top off a career year, Kevin Durant was named the cover athlete for NBA Elite 11. He previously appeared on the cover of NCAA March Madness 08.
On July 7, 2010, Durant announced on his Twitter page that he signed a 5-year contract extension with the Thunder.The extension is worth about $86 million.
Kevin Durant Awards And Recognitions:
Kevin Durant High school Awards
- 2006 Co-MVP McDonald's All-American Game -- Shared award with Chase Budinger
Kevin Durant College Awards
- 2007 ESPN All-American
- 2007 ESPN Player of the Year
- 2007 NABC Division I Player of the Year
- 2007 AP Player of the Year (First freshman to do so)
- 2007 AP All-America 1st Team (unanimous)
- 2007 Oscar Robertson Trophy
- 2007 Adolph Rupp Trophy
- 2007 Naismith Award Winner (First freshman to do so)
- 2007 John R. Wooden Award All-American Team
- 2007 John R. Wooden Award Winner
- Big 12 Rookie of the Week (six times)
- Big 12 Player of the Week (four times)
- 2007 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Awards:
- Player of the Year
- Big 12 Freshman of the Year
- All-Big 12 First Team (unanimous)
- Big 12 All-Defensive Team
- Big 12 All-Rookie Team (unanimous)
- 2007 AP National Player of the Year
- 2010 FIBA World Championship MVP
- NBA All-Star: 2010, 2011
- NBA Scoring Champion: 2010, 2011
- All-NBA First Team: 2010, 2011
- NBA All-Star Weekend H–O–R–S–E Competition winner: 2009, 2010
- NBA Rookie Challenge MVP: 2009
- NBA Rookie of the Year: 2008
- All-Rookie First Team: 2008
- Milestones and records
- Most points in a Rookie Challenge game (46)
- Most points in an NBA All-Star Weekend (46)
- Most points in a FIBA World Championship game by Team USA (38)
- Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder Franchise Records
- Consecutive games scoring 30 or more points [7 (twice), from December 22, 2009 to January 2, 2010 and from April 4, 2010 to April 14]
- Broke the record of 6 set by Spencer Haywood in January 1972.
- Consecutive games scoring 25 or more points (29, from December 22, 2009 to February 23, 2010)
- Most 30+ point games in one season (48, 2009–2010)
- Most points in one season (2,472; 2009–2010)