Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

May 22, 2013

Thunder star Kevin Durant makes $1M tornado pledge

Oklahoma City isn’t just a place where Thunder star Kevin Durant lives these days. It’s home.

So as he watched the horrifying images Monday as a tornado ripped through suburban Moore, the emotions came bubbling to the surface and so did the need to help. Durant pledged $1 million for tornado relief through his family foundation on Tuesday, eager to help a devastated area begin to rebuild.

“As the day went on and I saw the footage and the casualties and the houses being blown away, it was tough to see,” said Durant, who was in Minneapolis to watch longtime friend Monica Wright play a preseason game for the Minnesota Lynx. “I call Oklahoma City my home. I go through Moore all the time. It’s unfortunate. We’re going to come together as a city like we always do and we’re going to bounce back.”

Durant has been in Oklahoma City for five years now, ever since the Seattle SuperSonics moved there in 2008. He’s become a fixture in the community, in addition to establishing himself as one of the very best players in the NBA. He said he was hoping to return home Wednesday to try and lift the spirits of an area reeling from the deaths of some two dozen people, including children.

“Just to get to the hospital, see some kids,” Durant said. “Something. Just something to give some hope. Playing for the Thunder, we mean so much to the state. So many people support us and I just want to go back and support those people.”

The American Red Cross said the gift from The Durant Family Foundation is meant to match other donations and be an incentive for more people to give.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by the devastation that has occurred within our community this week,” Thunder chairman Clay Bennett said in a statement issued by the team. “We are focusing Thunder resources to help where we can in the relief efforts and to support the organizations that are on the ground assisting those affected by this week’s storms. Even with so much loss, the strength and resiliency of this community have once again been on display, and we will continue to work together as our community and state recover from this disaster.”

When Durant initially heard reports of a tornado near Oklahoma City, he didn’t pay them much mind. A veteran of the area now, he knows twisters can be a regular occurrence this time of year. It quickly became apparent that this one was different, and Durant could barely watch it all unfold.

“It hit so close to home,” he said. “It was tough to see.”

And it made the Thunder’s early exit from the playoffs sting that much more. With Russell Westbrook out because of a knee injury, the Thunder were beaten by the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference semifinals, a disappointing finish for a team that advanced to the NBA Finals a year ago.

“I wish I could’ve done a better job for my team to stay in the playoffs because of course basketball and sporting events bring everyone together,” Durant said. “It takes your mind off it for a few hours.”

The Thunder boast one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in the league. Durant averaged 30.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists in the playoffs, but the rest of his teammates struggled to step up and fill Westbrook’s void.

“There’s some part of me wishing I could’ve played better for my team to stay in the playoffs,” Durant said. “Hopefully they get back on their feet. It’s so tough. Praying for the families. I’m feeling for them.”

___

AP Sports Writer Jeff Latzke in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Really one true champion?

    I decided to spare the colleagues in front of me – and myself from making a scene – by holding back flipping my table at the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas.
    I had become exhausted by the constant use and misrepresentation by the Big 12 with their moniker of “One True Champion.” If they are going to live with the slogan, then they need to abide by that slogan.
    Perhaps its a simple case that they are keeping constant with the poor math of the 10-team Big 12 Conference.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hill expected to be used in multiple facets

    The picture became a little clearer recently of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 23, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • shock pic.jpg Time to rest

    Shock beats San Antonio before entering All-Star break

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy leads, Tiger Woods in contention after 1st day at British Open

    July 18, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Stocks