On this day 25 years ago, I can only imagine that God woke up and said, “Ya know what? Let’s see what would happen if I make a near seven-foot human who can play basketball like a 6-3 shooting guard; a man with enough natural talent to avoid any form of lifting until he becomes a seasoned pro.” And then Kevin Durant was born.
Although he’s not as physically dominating as LeBron, Durant poses as his biggest threat to the “Best Player Alive” Throne, and is the only player who makes shooting the basketball look as monotonous as tying shoes is to the normal human being. Durant has averaged 20-plus PPG since being drafted by what once was the Seattle Sonics. Boasting career averages of 26.6 PPG, 6.8 RBG and 3.1 APG, he is no doubt a bonafide superstar. He has also spent the last few seasons expanding his game; no longer is he just the best volume shooter, he now is a player capable of getting others involved as a playmaker, and even grabs a fair share of rebounds.
As the four-time All-NBA and All-Star selection enters his prime, Durant (along with teammate Russell Westbrook) is looking for his first NBA title this upcoming season. But before the season begins, let’s celebrate KD’s 25th birthday by looking at the Durantula’s best moments. (On a quick side note: that nickname has to be on the NBA Mount Rushmore of worst nicknames, along with Joel Przybilla‘s “The Vanilla Gorilla.”)
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25. MVP of the 2006 McDonald’s All American Game
Back when he was a young’n, Durant first put the world on notice after putting up 25 points while only playing 18 minutes.
24. TEX vs. COL 2007
In his freshmen year at Texas, Durant looked like a man amongst boys, especially in this one. In a 102-78 Texas win, Durant finished with 37 points and 16 rebounds.
23. TEX vs. TEX TECH 2007
Sticking with the theme here, Durant put up another monster game of 37 and 23 rebounds in a 76-64 Longhorns win.
22. Big 12/NCAA Tournament
Although the Durant-led Longhorns were upset by USC in the second round, you can hardly place the blame on KD after he averaged 28.5 points and 9.6 rebounds with 12 blocks and 12 steals in five games (two NCAA plus three Big 12 Tournament games). Durant was simply dominant.
21. The College Awards
To save some room I’m grouping all of his awards into one (he has quite a few). He was voted Player of the Year by SI.com, ESPN.com and the Sporting News, AP Player of the Year, a bunch more… and finally the Naismith Award (the basketball equivalent to the Heisman): becoming the first freshman to ever win the award.