Crowds of people lined Seat Pleasant Drive to see an NBA champion and the Larry O’Brien Trophy drive by in a silver corvette.
The excitement of the MVP’s hometown to welcome back one of the most famous products of Seat Pleasant and Prince George’s County was reflected in the parade and Kevin Durant Day, even if it wasn’t the championship parade that the D.C. area had hoped for a year ago when Kevin Durant hit free agency.
“I appreciate the love and support,” Durant said at the ceremony held at the community hall. “It’s amazing.”
As Durant made his way along Seat Pleasant Drive, an estimated 20,000 people braved the heat to get a glimpse of him. Members of the media and volunteers forcing the crowd to maintain at a distance around Durant, but it didn’t stop enthusiastic fans from reaching as near to Durant as possible, passing him hats, jerseys and basketballs to sign.
Jalen Richards-Alleyne, a ninth grader who participates on Team Durant, a youth sports team sponsored by its namesake, stated, “I’m pretty excited to finally meet Kevin Durant.”
Makhai, a fourth grader on Team Durant, stated, “I’m very excited to meet Kevin Durant and to celebrate his coming home.”
Along the two-mile-long parade route, children and adults alike yelled from the sidewalks in an effort to catch the NBA star’s attention. According to Richards-Alleyne, Durant’s visit to Seat Pleasant after the Golden State Warriors’ title meant the world to the town’s youth.
According to Richards-Alleyne, “this means that anyone from anywhere can succeed if they work hard and put their mind to it.” I thought to myself, “If I work as hard as he did, maybe I could play as well as he did.”
The visit of the NBA Finals’ Most Valuable Player is “very special,” Makhai remarked. There’s a lot of interest in meeting him because he’s local. He’s fantastic.
It was a day to honor not only the return of an NBA champion to his hometown, but also the star player’s philanthropic efforts there. Durant donated roughly $60,000 to the recreation center in Seat Pleasant earlier this year to build brand new basketball courts. In addition to financially supporting local sports teams, he also provides them with equipment. The city calculated that Durant has spent about $900,000 in his hometown.
“Especially now, with so much going on in our country and the 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,” added Durant. To paraphrase, “Thank you so much, I owe you guys way more than you owe me.”
Wanda Durant, Kevin’s mom, agrees, saying her son has never forgotten his roots.
That’s my house, she declared. Never lose sight of your roots. These are the kids that look up to my son and know that they, too, can make it, so you leave because you have to make it on your own. But you can never forget where you came from. That’s the crux of the matter.
Wanda has remarked that she has always asked Durant to go above and above, and that she has witnessed him do so in both his sports and charitable endeavors.
“It started here and this is where the hard work started over 20 years ago. Wanda remarked, “It’s wonderful to see him get to this stage in his career; it’s exciting and satisfying, and it’s wonderful to celebrate it here at home, where it all began.