Kevin Durant Charity Foundation Hosts Fundraiser in OKC

By Nick Gallo | Thunder Basketball Writer | mailbag@okcthunder.com

Gigantic feet - NBA player-sized feet - stepped one by one down the red carpet that replaced the sidewalk near the canal in Bricktown. On Sunday night, Oklahoma City was host to an incredibly special event, “The Spot” a night of Jazz benefitting the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation.

One by one, Durant’s Thunder teammates, coaches and staff, along with dozens of other members of the Oklahoma City community, strolled into KD’s restaurant for the event. The event also helped benefit the “Build it and They Will Ball” initiative and the many other good works Durant’s foundation supports – like the Positive Tomorrows school in downtown Oklahoma City that provides a reliable safe haven and strong educational foundation for children in desperate circumstances.

From Durant’s more recent charitable endeavors like a $35,000 donation to Positive Tomorrows and building a basketball court at North Highland Elementary to his $1 million donation in the aftermath of the 2013 tornadoes that ripped through the state, the Thunder’s perennial All-Star has been exceptional off of the court for the state.

“The huge goal is to inspire kids and give them a sense of hope that things can happen for you and that you can continue to follow your dreams and anything can happen if you put your mind to it,” Durant said. “I feel really passionately about that.”

“I’m always proud of my son, but one of the things I’m most proud of is how he’s carrying on our family legacy and giving back to the community,” Durant’s mother, Wanda Pratt added. “We didn’t have much but he saw our family give back and so I’m grateful that he’s in a position to give and is doing the things that he’s doing.”

Kevin Durant and his mom arrive at The Spot, a night of jazz benefiting the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation. #KDCF

A photo posted by Oklahoma City Thunder (@okcthunder) on

Nine years ago, when Durant was just entering the NBA as a fresh-faced rookie, there were no Thunder games being played at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Fast forward to 2016 and not only has NBA basketball captivated the entire state, but the local citizens feel a true connection to players like Durant who have become such vital fixtures to the community. While Durant’s accomplishments on the floor have been incredible, his efforts off of it are sublime.

“As much as he’s evolved as a player, it’s been more rewarding to see his evolution as a person and now as a civic leader and an ambassador of the state,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “He really embraces the platform of being able to inspire others and embraces the platform that he has to reach people on a really human level, given the close-knit community he plays in.”

There was a massive show of support from the Thunder organization, as rookies like Cameron Payne, veterans like Nazr Mohammed and others in between were in attendance. Longstanding teammates Nick Collison, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka were there as well, along with Presti, Head Coach Billy Donovan and other staff members.

“He’s such a great guy and he’s been a great person for Oklahoma City,” Westbrook said of Durant’s philanthropy. “It’s important because (the fans) embraced us when we came in and it’s only right that we find ways to help out kids, help out families and help out the city itself.”

Throughout the season, a variety of Thunder players have been involved in all sorts of events – from Payne’s high school jersey retirement to Westbrook’s floor dedication at UCLA to Ibaka’s annual Gala and Dion Waiters’ elementary school donation – and every time there is a groundswell of support from teammates and the Thunder organization.

“The thing that has always been impressive to me is the way that these guys support each other and the way they show up at different events,” Donovan said. “When you get a chance to be a part of something like that, everybody is pulling for each other and are trying to help each other.” 

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Kevin Durant's KDCF fundraising event, The Spot, on theplayerstribune.com.

Full Video: Kevin Durant Charity Foundation Fundraiser in OKC