Durant was a heavily recruited high school prospect who was widely regarded as the second-best player in his class. He played one season of college basketball for the University of Texas, where he won numerous year-end awards and became the first freshman to be named Naismith College Player of the Year. In 2007, he was selected as the second overall pick by the Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA draft. After his rookie season, the team relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. Behind Durant's leadership and his pairing with All-Star guard Russell Westbrook, the Thunder emerged as a perennial title contender, advancing as far as the NBA Finals in 2012, where they were ousted by the Miami Heat. He played nine seasons in Oklahoma City before signing with the Warriors in 2016, winning the championship in his debut season with the team.
Off the court, Durant often ranks as one of the highest-earning basketball players in the world, due in part to endorsement deals with companies such as Foot Locker and Nike. He has developed a reputation for his philanthropy and regularly leads the league in All-Star votes and jersey sales. In recent years, he has contributed to The Players' Tribune as both a photographer and writer. In 2012, he tried his hand at acting, appearing in the film Thunderstruck.
Durant was born on September 29, 1988, in Washington, D.C., to Wanda (née Durant) and Wayne Pratt. When Durant was an infant, his father deserted the family; Wanda and Wayne eventually divorced, and Durant's grandmother Barbara Davis helped raise him. By age 13, his father re-entered his life and traveled the country with him to basketball tournaments. Durant has one sister, Brianna, and two brothers, Tony and Rayvonne.
Durant and his siblings grew up in Prince George's County, Maryland, on the eastern outskirts of Washington, D.C. He was unusually tall from a young age, and reached 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) in height while still in middle school (age 13–14). Growing up, Durant wanted to play for his favorite team, the Toronto Raptors, which included his favorite player, Vince Carter. He played Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball for several teams in the Maryland area and was teammates with future National Basketball Association (NBA) players Michael Beasley, Greivis Vásquez, and Ty Lawson, the former of whom Durant remains friends with to this day. During this time, he began wearing #35 as his jersey number in honor of his AAU coach, Charles Craig, who was murdered at the age of 35.
After playing two years of high school basketball at National Christian Academy and one year at Oak Hill Academy, Durant transferred to Montrose Christian School for his senior year, growing 5 inches (13 cm) before the start of the season and beginning the year at a height of 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m). Prior to the start of the season, he committed to the University of Texas. At the conclusion of the year, he was named the Washington Post All-Met Basketball Player of the Year, as well as the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 McDonald's All-American Game. He was widely regarded as the second-best high school prospect of 2006.
For the 2006–07 college season, Durant—who had grown to 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)—averaged 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game for the Texas Longhorns as a student at the University of Texas. The Longhorns finished the year with a 25–10 record overall and a 12–4 record in conference. Awarded a fourth seed in the NCAA Tournament, Texas won their first round match-up against New Mexico State but were upset in the second round by USC despite a 30-point and 9-rebound performance from Durant. For his outstanding play, Durant was recognized as the unanimous national player of the year, winning the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith College Player of the Year Award, and all eight other widely recognized honors and awards. This made Durant the first freshman to win any of the national player of the year awards. On April 11, he officially declared for the NBA draft. His #35 jersey was later retired by the Longhorns.Cited from ESPN.
Durant was selected as the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics. In his first regular season game, the 19-year-old Durant registered 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals against the Denver Nuggets. On November 16, he made the first game-winning shot of his career in a game against the Atlanta Hawks. At the conclusion of the season, he was named the NBA Rookie of the Year behind averages of 20.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. He joined Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James as the only teenagers in league history to average at least 20 points per game over an entire season.
Following Durant's debut season, the SuperSonics relocated from Seattle to Oklahoma City, becoming the Thunder and switching to new colors blue, orange, and yellow. The team also drafted UCLA guard Russell Westbrook, who would form an All-Star combination with Durant in later years. At the 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend, Durant set a Rookie Challenge record with 46 points. By the conclusion of the year, he had raised his scoring average by five points from the prior season to 25.3 points per game, and was considered a strong candidate for the Most Improved Player Award, eventually finishing third in the voting. Durant continued to grow during his first few years in the NBA, finally reaching a height of 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m).
During the 2009–10 season, Durant was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game. Behind his play, the Thunder improved their record by 27 wins from the previous year and defied expectations to make the playoffs. With a scoring average of 30.1 points per game, he became the youngest NBA scoring champion and was selected to his first All-NBA team. In his playoff debut, he scored 24 points in a Game 1 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers. Oklahoma City would go on to lose the series in six games, but the team's performance led many analysts to label them as an upcoming title contender.
Prior to the start of the 2010–11 season, Durant announced via Twitter that he had signed a five-year contract extension with the Thunder worth approximately $86 million. For the second consecutive year, he led the NBA in scoring, averaging 27.7 points a game. Behind his leadership, the Thunder won 55 games and earned the fourth seed in the Western Conference. In the playoffs, Oklahoma City defeated the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies en route to a Conference Finals match-up versus the Dallas Mavericks, losing in five games.
On February 19 of the lockout-shortened 2011–12 season, Durant recorded his first career 50-point game, scoring 51 points against the Denver Nuggets. At the All-Star Game, he scored 36 points and was awarded the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award. He finished the year with a scoring average of 28 points per game, representing his third straight scoring title. Behind his play, the Thunder won 47 games and entered the playoffs as the Western Conference's second seed. In Game 1 of the first round against the Mavericks, Durant hit a game-winner with 1.5 seconds remaining. Oklahoma City would go on to defeat Dallas, the Lakers, and the San Antonio Spurs before losing to the Miami Heat in the Finals. For the championship round, Durant led all players with 30.6 points per game, doing so on a 54.8 shooting rate.
With a scoring average of 28.1 points per game to finish the 2012–13 season, Durant failed to defend his scoring title; however, with a 51 percent shooting rate, a 41.6 percent three point shooting rate, and a 90.5 free throw shooting rate, he became the youngest player in NBA history to join the 50–40–90 club. Finishing the year with a 60–22 record, Oklahoma City earned the first seed in the Western Conference. In the first round of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets, Russell Westbrook tore his meniscus, forcing him to miss the remainder of the postseason. Without Westbrook, Durant was given more responsibility, averaging a career-high 30.8 points per game throughout the playoffs, but Oklahoma City were eventually eliminated in the second round by the Memphis Grizzlies in five games.
In January of the 2013–14 season, Durant averaged 35.9 points per game while scoring 30 or more points in 12 straight games, including a career-high 54 points against the Golden State Warriors. In April, he surpassed Michael Jordan's record for consecutive games scoring 25 points or more at 41. The Thunder finished the year with 59 wins and Durant was voted the NBA Most Valuable Player behind averages of 32 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. To begin the first round of the playoffs, he struggled against the physical play of the Grizzlies, converting on only 24 percent of his field goals in Game 4. Through six games, the Thunder trailed the series 3–2, prompting The Oklahoman to dub Durant "Mr. Unreliable". He responded by scoring 36 points in a Game 6 victory. Oklahoma City eventually eliminated Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers before losing to the Spurs in the Conference Finals in six games
Prior to the start of the 2014–15 season, Durant was diagnosed with a Jones fracture in his right foot and was ruled out for six to eight weeks. He subsequently missed the first 17 games of the year, making his season debut for the Thunder on December 2 against the New Orleans Pelicans. On December 18, he injured his ankle against the Golden State Warriors, returning to action on December 31 against the Phoenix Suns to score a season-high 44 points. He then sprained his left big toe in late January. On February 22, he was sidelined again after undergoing a minor procedure to help reduce pain and discomfort in his surgically repaired right foot, and on March 27, he was officially ruled out for the rest of the season after deciding to undergo foot surgery. In just 27 games, he averaged 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game.
To begin the 2015–16 season, Durant and Russell Westbrook reached several historical milestones together, including becoming the first pair of teammates to each score at least 40 points in a single game since 1996, doing so in a win over the Orlando Magic on October 30. On April 11, Durant scored 34 points against the Lakers, setting an NBA record for consecutive games scoring 20 or more points with 64. For the year, Durant averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game, leading the Thunder to 55 wins and the third seed in the West. In Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs against the Mavericks, he scored 21 points but made just 7-of-33 shots in the worst postseason shooting performance, both by percentage and number of misses, of his career. After defeating Dallas, Oklahoma City moved on to face the Spurs in the second round, falling behind 2–1 to start the series. In Game 4, Durant tied his playoff career high with 41 points in a Thunder win. Oklahoma City eventually defeated the Spurs in six games, drawing a matchup with the record-setting 73-win Golden State Warriors in the Conference Finals. Despite going up 3–1, the Thunder were ousted in seven games, with Durant providing 27 points in Game 7.
On July 4, 2016, Durant announced his intentions to sign with the Golden State Warriors in a Players' Tribune piece titled "My Next Chapter." The move was received negatively by the public and NBA analysts, with many comparing the move to LeBron James's 2010 off-season departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. On July 7, he officially signed with the Warriors on a two-year, $54.3 million contract with a player option after the first year.
On October 25, Durant made his debut for the Warriors in their season opener against the San Antonio Spurs. In 36 minutes of action, he recorded a team-high 27 points and 10 rebounds in a 129–100 loss. Three days later, he recorded 30 points and 17 rebounds (one shy of his career high) in a 122–114 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. In his third game for Golden State on October 30, he had a 37-point outing in a 106–100 win over the Phoenix Suns. On November 3, he matched his career high with seven three-pointers and scored 39 points in a 122–96 win over his former team, the Thunder. With 22 points against the Pelicans on November 7, Durant had at least 20 points for his 71st straight game, matching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the fifth-longest streak in NBA history. He increased that streak to 72 games with at least 20 points on November 9 against the Mavericks, tying Michael Jordan for the fourth-longest streak ever. The streak ended the following day when he scored 18 points in a win against the Denver Nuggets.
On November 26, he recorded 28 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and a career-high six blocked shots in a 115–102 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was the Warriors' first time ever having someone finish with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five blocks. Two days later, he was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, November 21 through Sunday, November 27. Durant helped Golden State to a 4–0 week behind averages of 24.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 2.75 blocked shots per game. On December 1, he matched his season high with 39 points to go with 13 rebounds, three steals, and three blocks in a 132–127 double overtime loss to the Houston Rockets. On December 28, he had 22 points, matched his season best with 17 rebounds, and added seven assists and five blocks in a 121–111 win over the Toronto Raptors. Two days later, he recorded his eighth career triple-double (his first since joining the Warriors) with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 108–99 win over the Mavericks.
On January 18, 2017, he set a new season high with 40 points in a 121–100 win over the Thunder. On February 2, 2017, he was named Co-Western Conference Player of the Month for January alongside teammate Stephen Curry. On February 11, in his first game back in Oklahoma City, Durant scored 34 points while being booed throughout the night, as he helped the Warriors defeat the Thunder for the third time in 2016–17 with a 130–114 win. The Thunder crowd jeered him loudly during pregame warmups, starter introductions, and whenever he touched the ball.
On March 1, he was ruled out indefinitely after suffering a Grade 2 MCL sprain and a tibial bone bruise the previous night against the Washington Wizards. On April 8, after missing 19 games with the knee injury, Durant returned to action and had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 123–101 win over the Pelicans. The Warriors finished the regular season with a 67–15 record and entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed. Over the 62 games in which he played, Durant averaged career highs in field goal percentage (.537), rebounds (8.3) and blocks per game (1.6), and a career low in turnovers per game (2.2).
Durant's 29 points and 12 rebounds in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Spurs led to a 129–115 victory that saw the Warriors advance to the NBA Finals for a third straight year while becoming the first team in league history to start the playoffs 12–0. In Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals, Durant had 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to lead Golden State past LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, 113–91. He helped the Warriors go up 3–0 in the series with a 31-point effort in Game 3, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 45.3 seconds left in the game. In Game 5 of the series, he scored 39 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists in the series-clinching 129–120 win at Oracle Arena to wrap up a 4–1 series win over the Cavaliers. He was the Warriors' top scorer in every game of the Finals, averaging 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists while shooting 55.5 percent from the field, 47.4 percent from three-point range, and 92.7 percent from the free throw line. He was subsequently named the winner of the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award, receiving all 11 votes from the panel of voters for the award.
After the NBA Finals, Durant declined his $27.7 million player option for the 2017–18 season and became an unrestricted free agent with the intention of re-signing with the Warriors for less money, helping the franchise create enough salary cap space to keep their core roster intact and add free agents. On July 25, 2017, he re-signed with the Warriors.
In February 2007, Durant received an invitation to the United States national team training camp. Despite a strong performance, he was cut from the team when its roster was trimmed to its twelve-player limit. Coach Mike Krzyzewski cited the experience of the remaining players as the deciding factor in making the cut. Durant was finally selected to the national team at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and became their leader as other All-Stars were unavailable, a role he downplayed. At the tournament, he led Team USA to its first FIBA World Championship since 1994, earning MVP honors in the process. His final averages for the competition were 22.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.4 steals per game in nine games.
At the 2012 Olympics, Durant set the record for total points scored in an Olympic basketball tournament. With averages of 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game, he helped the national team go undefeated en route to a gold medal. In the tournament's final game, he led all scorers with 30 points.
Less than a month before the start of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Durant announced that he would be dropping out of the competition, citing mental and physical exhaustion as reasons for his departure. He rejoined Team USA in 2016 for the Olympics, where he led them to a gold medal. In recognition of his performances, Durant was named the 2016 co-USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year, along with Carmelo Anthony, for the second time in his career.
Though Durant's height is officially listed as 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m), he has stated that he actually stands 6 ft 10 3⁄4 in (2.10 m) barefoot and 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) with shoes. He plays mostly at the small forward position, and his career averages are 27.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. Durant has earned All-NBA honors seven times (2009–14, 2016–17) and was voted Rookie of the Year in his debut season. He has won an MVP Award and finished second in the voting three times, a trend he has expressed frustration over.
Described as a "scoring prodigy" by John Hollinger, Durant regularly finishes as one of the NBA's points leaders and has won the scoring title four times. A strong outside shooter, he is one of only seven members of the 50–40–90 club, and his 2013 campaign was called "one of the greatest shooting seasons in league history" by Grantland's Zach Lowe. One of the primary reasons for Durant's shooting prowess is his 7 ft 4 in (2.24 m) wingspan, which helps him get his shot off cleanly over most defenders. He is also a strong finisher at the rim, converting on 72.2 percent of shots in the paint in 2012. Early in his career, he was criticized for his slim build, defense, and passing. Over time, he grew as a playmaker, increasing his assist numbers every year from 2010 to 2014. He also showed defensive improvement, with opponents averaging just .62 points per isolation play against him in 2014, the best success rate for defensive players who faced at least 100 isolations that season.
Durant describes himself as a "high school kid" and enjoys playing video games in his spare time. He is very close with his mother, Wanda, a relationship that was detailed in the Lifetime movie The Real MVP: The Wanda Pratt Story. A Christian, Durant goes to chapel before every game and has religious tattoos on his stomach, wrist, and back. He owns several properties in the Oklahoma City area and listed his primary residence, located in the affluent Club Villa neighborhood, for sale for $1.95 million in 2013. That same year, he opened a restaurant, KD's Southern Cuisine, in the Bricktown neighborhood and briefly became engaged to Monica Wright, a WNBA player. In 2016, he was a credentialed photographer for The Players' Tribune at Super Bowl 50.
Durant was formerly represented by agents Aaron Goodwin and Rob Pelinka. He left Pelinka in 2013 and signed with the Roc Nation group, headed by Jay-Z. Durant has endorsement deals with Nike, Sprint, Gatorade, Panini, General Electric, and 2K Sports. In 2012, he tried his hand at acting, appearing in the children's film Thunderstruck. In 2013, he earned $35 million, making him the fourth-highest-earning basketball player that year. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Durant claimed that, despite his high earnings potential, "global marketing and all that stuff" does not interest him.
One of the most popular players in the league, Durant's jersey regularly ranks as one of the NBA's best-selling and he is consistently one of the top All-Star vote-getters. He has developed a reputation for his kind demeanor; in 2013, Foot Locker released a series of commercials calling him the "nicest guy in the NBA", and he has become a beloved figure in Oklahoma City, known for his "nice escapades" toward the Thunder's staff. In 2014, he partnered with KIND snacks and launched StrongAndKind.com to show "being kind is not a sign of weakness."
Throughout his career, Durant has participated in philanthropic causes. In 2013, he pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross for the victims of the 2013 Moore tornado. His generosity inspired the Thunder and Nike to match his donation. He is also a spokesperson for the Washington, D. C. branch of P'Tones Records, a nationwide non-profit after-school music program.
In 2017, Durant became involved with YouTube. In February, he visited YouTube's headquarters for a speaking engagement. On April 7, 2017, he created a YouTube account and soon began to upload live stream vlogs onto it. In his first vlog, he detailed, "I'm so excited because I got off social media. I got off the Instagram, Twitter, all that stuff, just to distance myself a bit. But somebody talked me into getting on the YouTube." As of April 26, 2017, Durant's YouTube channel has received over 100,000 subscribers and 1 million video views.Cited from Basketball Reference's Kevin Durant page unless noted otherwise.
NBA champion: 2017
NBA Finals Most Valuable Player: 2017
NBA Most Valuable Player: 2014
8× NBA All-Star: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
5× All-NBA First Team: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
2× All-NBA Second Team: 2016, 2017
4× NBA scoring champion: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014
NBA All-Star Game MVP: 2012
NBA Rookie of the Year: 2008
NBA All-Rookie First Team: 2008
NBA Rookie Challenge MVP: 2009
Cited from USA Basketball's Kevin Durant page unless noted otherwise.
Olympic gold medalist: 2012, 2016
FIBA World Championship gold medalist: 2010
FIBA World Championship Most Valuable Player: 2010
Naismith College Player of the Year: 2007
NABC Division I Player of the Year: 2007
AP Player of the Year: 2007
AP All-America 1st Team: 2007
Oscar Robertson Trophy: 2007
Adolph Rupp Trophy: 2007
John R. Wooden Award: 2007
Big 12 Player of the Year: 2007
USBWA National Freshman of the Year: 2007