Wanda Durant, mother of Brooklyn Nets wing Kevin Durant, lives by a specific mantra: “Where there is hope, there is possibility.”
Being a single mother and raising two sons was no easy feat, especially when she wanted to provide them things that she couldn’t necessarily afford at the time. Despite the obstacles, she always showed up in other ways.
“I continued to give them my love, my time, my presence and being as engaged as I possibly could,” Wanda said. “After looking over my life, I realized that having hope and not quitting gave my sons the opportunity to live out their dreams and do the same.”
The Durant Family Foundation (DFF) also abides by those same principles. Created by Kevin Durant and spearheaded with the help of his mother, the mission statement is as follows: “To enrich the lives of at-risk youth from low-income backgrounds through educational, athletic and social programs.”
The foundation is involved in numerous outreach programs, including developing direct programs and initiatives to support youth not across the U.S., and globally. They’ve also allocated grants for programs aiding homelessness, disaster relief, girls empowerment and social justice.
Recently, the DFF committed $500,000 towards renovations of the basketball arena in the Leonidas S. James Physical Education Complex located at Bowie State University, which is in Durant’s hometown of Prince George’s County, Maryland.
“It’s home … Bowie State is pretty much our background and PG County is who we know and it’s a part of who we are. It being the first HBCU in Maryland along with Kevin playing in that gym – all of the stars aligned for this to take place,” Wanda said.
Originally founded in 1865, Bowie State played a huge part in Kevin Durant’s basketball journey. Playing on travel teams growing up, Kevin quickly became known in the community as a hooper and would attract crowds of people to catch him play.
The generous donation will be allocated to renovations that include the installation of a new basketball court, expansion of seating capacity and upgrades to the press box area.
But the refurbishing of the facilities is just the start. The donation marks the beginning of a partnership between the DFF and Bowie State University. While more specific details are still being worked out, the alliance will also provide financial support for men’s and women’s basketball along with other university athletic programs.
It will also include scholarships for “College Track at The Durant Center” students who attend BSU.
The College Track is a program created at the Durant Center that prepares first-generation college students for the next level. For Kevin, education was always a major focal point, due to it being a key component in changing the trajectory of one’s life.
“He realizes that people have supported him from afar and that’s just a part of who he is,” Wanda said. “That’s why it is so important to give back to both your local community and globally.”
The DFF also implemented the Basketball Renovation Initiative, which aims to build high quality basketball courts accessible to underprivileged youth across the United States and internationally. As of now, they have completed court construction and renovation projects in 19 different cities worldwide, including in his current city of Brooklyn.
His Nets teammate Kyrie Irving is also heavily active in community outreach as the guard just donated $22,000 to Destiny Thompson, a Howard University student who needed $6,000 to remain at the HBCU located in the nation’s capital.
“So many, if not all, of these athletes pour into their communities and give back so much,” Wanda Durant added.
An example of this is the Bob Lanier Community Assist Award, which recognizes a player’s continuous commitment to positively impact his community through sustained efforts and difference-making over the course of a season. This year’s award was given to Gary Payton II.
“It’s important for readers to know that besides KD, there are so many other players who also contribute where they grew up and sometimes that just goes unsaid” Wanda added.
To learn more about community outreach within the league, visit NBA Cares.