Kevin Durant’s 7-foot-5 wingspan makes weight training a challenge. The long arms, combined with his 6-9 height makes lifting a lot of weight almost impossible. Add that to his moderate dislike of strength training, and Alan Stein had a problem.

Kevin Durant in 2005. (Preston Keres/TWP)

His football workouts wouldn’t work here, nor would his drill sergeant routine. Stein said he was never focused on the amount of weight that Durant could bench press, instead it was the effort the future superstar put in.

 “He was quite honest after those first couple workouts, I asked him, ‘Do you like this type of stuff?’ and he said ‘no,’ ” recalled Stein.

“But, I know that this will help me get better, so I’m willing to do it.”

Durant’s willingness to work hard has taken him far this season, and tonight he will attempt to keep the season going when the Oklahoma City Thurder meet the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Miami. The Heat lead the series, 3-1.

Kevin Durant (front, third from left) and the Montrose Christian basketball team in the weight room in 2006. (Courtesy of Alan Stein)

“Fast forward 10 years later and he holds press conferences as well as anybody out there,” said Stein. “It’s just amazing how much he has grown, not only as a player but as a person. It’s like night and day.”

The two would work together on the weekends. Stein traveled from his Germantown home to pick up Durant for morning workouts at the nearby Seat Pleasant Recreation Center. It didn’t take long for Stein to see what type of person Durant was. In fact, they didn’t get far past the front desk.

A tired Durant, with his head down, walked past the woman at the front desk without saying hello. The woman, who Stein said was in her 70s, stopped the 16-year-old and gave him a lesson. “Son, don’t ever walk by someone without saying hello or good morning.” Durant lifted his head, made eye contact and said good morning.

“Everything you’ve seen or read is absolutely 100 percent true,” said Stein. “He is genuine, he’s down to earth and overwhelmingly humble for such a superstar. He’s just a great guy. He’s one of the few guys that I’ve come across that really respects the game and loves the game.”

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