One of the knocks on “Generation Next” is that they are ego-centric. They are portrayed as craving a singular limelight rather than a shared spotlight with teammates. Their drive appears to be fueled by individual stat lines in the box score rather than results on the scoreboard. Unsportsmanlike conduct on the field is justified in the name of winning.
But Gen Next does have shining stars who do things the “right” way. One example is NBA Superstar Kevin Durant.
Durant plays in relative obscurity for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City played in only two nationally televised games last year (Lebron James played in 29) so you are not alone if you have never heard of him. Here is a short rundown on Durant’s accomplishments:
- 2010 FIBA World Championship MVP and Gold Medalist
- NBA Scoring Champion 2010
- NBA All Star 2010
- NBA Rookie of the Year 2008
- ESPN Player of the Year 2007
- AP Player of the Year 2007
- Oscar Robertson Trophy 2007
- Adolph Rupp Trophy 2007
- Naismith Award Winner 2007
- John Wooden Award Winner 2007
- Big 12 Player of the Year 2007
- 3.5 GPA while at the University of Texas
A fairly stout resume for the 22-year-old Gen Nex from Washington D.C. You might assume with so many accomplishments at such a young age, Durant would fall into the “me first” category. But nothing could be further from the truth for the soft spoken 6’9” swingman.
Durant consistently demonstrates humility, class, and respect for all those he touches. Examples include:
On July 7, when Lebron James announced that he would televise his “decision,” Durant simply tweeted about his new contract extension with the Thunder:
“Extension for 5 more years with the #Thunder…God is Great, me and my family came a long way…I love ya’ll man for real, this is a blessing!”
On September 18, Durant was invited to have a personal shoot around with President Obama at the White House. Durant brought teammates Eric Maynor, James Harden, and his mother with him. His greatest pleasure from the event, however, might have been having his grandmother there, as well. Durant shared, “She’s been in D.C. for 60 years and never got to meet the president. Now we have the first African-American president, and it felt good for me to give her that opportunity.”
On October 20, Durant was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He agreed to do the cover on the condition that teammates Thabo Sefolosha and Nenad Krstic were included: “They’re guys we have to have on this team. I want everybody to know how important they are to us and what great teammates they are. So it was the chance to voice my opinion, and I’m glad Sports Illustrated put them on the cover with me.”
On November 9, Durant was scheduled to appear on the Jim Rome radio show. Rome tweeted, “Kevin Durant legend grows. A meeting ran late and he couldn’t call the show. He just called me personally to apologize. A Jungle first.”
….and the spotlight that shines on Durant allows his legend to grow because his mind and soul are firmly rooted in gratitude.