LAS VEGAS – On May 6, Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant delivered one of the most memorable MVP speeches in sports history, an emotional 25-minute soliloquy that thanked countless people in Durant’s life for his success, on and off the court. As it turns out, Durant’s Thunder teammates weren’t the only NBA players who received a meaningful message that week.
As reported by SLAM magazine in a recent profile of New Orleans forward Anthony Davis, when Davis texted congratulations to Durant on winning league MVP, Durant responded back to Davis that the 21-year-old is headed for the honor someday.
“You on your way to get it,” read Durant’s text message back to Davis.
The words initially stunned Davis, a Western Conference All-Star teammate of Durant’s for the first time in February.
“It was shocking,” Davis said. “For a guy who knows what it takes to win an MVP award, telling me that I’m on my way, it means he sees something in me. That means a lot, especially from one of the best players in the league right now, if not the best. It just meant a lot. It made me want to work even harder.”
Durant, a friend of Davis and a teammate on the USA team that won gold at the 2012 Olympics, explained that his return text was simply a recognition of Davis’ sky-high promise and potential. The 6-foot-10, 238-pounder was one of the league’s most improved players in 2013-14, averaging 20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and a league-leading 2.8 blocks.
“I know how good he’s going to be,” the four-time NBA scoring champion said, after a USA Basketball practice. “I know how good he is now, but I know how good he’s going to be. He’s an MVP-caliber player. So he’s next. He’s next in line – a guy that has grown so much in just a year. I’m excited to see what he does from here. He’s definitely on pace.”
Durant, who’s on the same floor as Davis this week in Las Vegas for the first time since the All-Star Game, also took immediate notice of changes to Davis’ frame, the result of time spent in the weight room this summer.
“You can tell he’s getting bulkier, getting bigger, more confident. You can tell he’s working,” Durant said. “I’m excited for him. He’s a good friend of mine. I’ve seen him since he was a junior in high school. His growth from then to now is just phenomenal. He’s just growing every single day. He’s moving up the ladder every single day. It’s scary. Scary.”