The family moved around Prince George’s County — Capitol Heights, Suitland, Seat Pleasant — and Pratt worked an overnight shift for the U.S. Postal Service. That meant Durant spent a lot of time with family, particularly his grandmother, Barbara Davis.
“I used to take him to school sometimes and say, ‘Don’t you want to talk to Grandma?’ He’d talk a minute. Then before you know it, quiet again,” Davis said.
Pratt still remembers driving an 8-year-old Durant to get a haircut when she passed the Seat Pleasant Recreation Center and thought that might be a good outlet for her kids. There’s no way she could know how important it would be.
“It changed my life,” Durant said. “Every memory I have from when I was a kid involves basketball.”
Coaches quickly took note of Durant’s natural athleticism. Charles Craig and Taras Brown began logging long hours with Durant, who was willing to do anything they asked. He sprinted up the hills behind the center. He ran full-court one-on-one. He learned every position on the floor.
“Kevin spent all of his time on the basketball court,” said Brian Shivers, a longtime volunteer at the rec center. “The work he put in here is what groomed him to be an NBA player. He’d get down here at 9 in the morning and would do drills until 10 at night. They trained him like he was already in the NBA.”
Durant knew his father growing up, but Pratt thought he was in need of strong male role models. There was no shortage of father figures available at the rec center, she said, none more ubiquitous then Craig or Brown. In 2005, though, Craig was shot and killed. He was just 35 years old, which is why the basketball star wears No. 35 on his jersey today.
Durant calls Brown his godfather, and he’s played a role in every decision Durant has made since high school. Durant’s game kept improving, and he transferred from National Christian Academy in Fort Washington to Oak Hill in Mouth of Wilson, Va., to Montrose Christian in Rockville, where he was named The Washington Post’s All-Met Basketball Player of the Year in 2006 and became one of the nation’s top recruits.
“He was never a kid who needed to play in front of big crowds, who needed to be a star, who needed all the accolades,” said Trevor Brown, Durant’s coach for two years at National Christian. “That’s not him. He was always more concerned with being the best player possible.”
Said Durant: “I wanted to the best player in the state — [the best] the area has ever seen. That's always been my goal. Guys like Elgin Baylor, Adrian Dantley and Dave Bing, it’s tough to pass those guys. So I’m studying, working. My project’s not over yet. Hopefully, I get there.”
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The week leading up Sunday’s All-Star Game happened to be one of the more memorable stretches of Durant’s career. The Thunder won four games in five nights, including victories over the Celtics and Lakers on back-to-back nights. Durant averaged 36 points an outing and poured in a career-high 51 last Sunday against Denver.