Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was named NBA MVP on Tuesday and he gave an acceptance speech that was equal parts humility, candor and raw emotion.
The Thunder star brought laughter when he offered thanks for that “Mr. Unreliable” headline and fought back tears as he thanked his teammates. And he spoke of the miracle of being MVP when his life’s goal as a kid was to be a rec-league coach. All that was touching, but he brought down the house when it came time to thank his mother, Wanda Pratt. He called Pratt, a single parent who raised him and his brother in Prince George’s County in Maryland, “the real MVP” and he wasn’t the only one in tears as she received a standing ovation.
“We weren’t supposed to be here. You made us believe,” Durant told his mother. “You kept us off the street. You put clothes on our backs. You put food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate and [you] went to sleep hungry.
“You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”
Of course, this ruins MVP speeches for everyone from now on — and Mother’s Day on Sunday, too. That $2.95 greeting card and grocery-store bouquet just isn’t going to cut it now.
The full speech is well worth watching, too.
His mom was teary Tuesday, too.
“I’m just kind of emotional about this day because he just worked so hard,” Pratt told Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears. “He started working at this early, when he was 9 years old. To see it all come together for him, I’m just excited for him. It really goes back to what Kevin puts in. I’m sure there are so many guys in the league that work extremely hard every day. But I know how hard he works, I know his heart, I know what he gave early on in the early days, and how many sacrifices he made through the years to even prepare for this moment.”
Durant easily won the award with 119 of 125 first-place votes.
“I’m grateful for all the voters that voted his way,” Pratt told Yahoo, “but I’m going to have to talk to the other six, though.”