When NBA Superstar Kevin Durant celebrated the opening of his new after-school program, the Durant Center, he would not refer to the funding that came from his own pocket as a “donation.” He wouldn’t even call it a gift or an act of charity. Instead, the basketball legend says he returned to his old neighborhood to “invest” $10 million into the community project.
Lost in the hullabaloo over the Golden State Warrior’s decision to skip the traditional NBA champions visit to the White House and instead visit former President Obama at the Wakandan Embassy was NBA superstar Kevin Durant’s triumphant return to his hometown to celebrate the official opening of his new after-school center.
On Wednesday, before the Warriors trounced the Washington Wizards, Durant visited his hometown in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to get his first look at the Durant Center, a brand new facility that the Mercury News reports will offer “various academic, financial and social-emotional resources to aid college and career development.”
Durant’s charity partnered with PG County Public Schools and College Track, an organization whose mission is to empower students from underserved communities to graduate from college. Durant “invested” $10 million over 10 years, which will offer scholarships, tutoring, counseling and study space to an inaugural class of 69 students, mostly from low-income families, according to the Washington Post.
The future Hall-of-Famer grew up in Suitland, Md., and credits his high school coaches and guidance counselors with helping him escape the cycle of poverty and teaching him the value of hard work.
“I had coaches and teachers that believed I could be something special. That’s where it starts,” Durant told the Mercury News. “Just older folks that believe and trust in your potential, whether it’s coaches, teachers or guidance counselors. You need someone with more experience who believe in you.”
After funding basketball courts and parks in five cities, Durant was looking for new ways for his charity to further its reach. When he met the people from College Track, he was adamant about starting a similar program in his hometown. He eventually chose the site of a former political campaign headquarters, which happened to be next to the McDonald’s where his older brother worked when they were teenagers.
“To have this as a kind of staple and my family’s name on it and it’s doing so much for kids, man,” Durant said, “it’s one of the greatest accomplishments so far in my career.”