KD's Road From Inner City Washington DC To NBA Superstar
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Kevin Durant is a product of the inner city. He learned to play basketball at the rec center near his home in Washington D.C. and by his teen years, he played streetball. We traveled to D.C. to get an inside look at where KD grew up.
"These are Da Gates, Barry Farms of Coliseum," say Miles Rawls with the Goodman League. "Kevin Durant came out here when he was 15, 16 years old. His uncle told me he had a nephew about 6'10", 80 pounds, and when he came through the gates to play, that's exactly what he was."
The Goodman League, located in southeast Washington DC, in one of the city's roughest neighborhoods. Miles Rawls, a cop, has announced games for decades inside "Da Gates," watching kids try to make a name for themselves. It didn't take long for KD to do just that.
"He could handle the ball for his size, had unlimited range, so I knew he was going to be special," Rawls said.
And when KD stepped out onto this court, if he was intimidated, Rawls said he didn't show it.
"When he came, his game spoke volumes, he didn't play like he was scared," he said. "Once he got out there, it was his domain."
His other domain was on the court at National Christian Academy, a private Pentecostal school in Oxon Hill, Maryland, where he played during his 9th and 10th grade years of high school.
"Kevin could put the ball in the basket, that's the first thing I noticed, the kid could score," said Trevor Brown, KD's 9th and 10th grade basketball coach. "And he never wanted to lose at that age."
Principal Andrew Stewart remembers when Durant and friend and fellow NBA player Michael Beasley would roam the halls.
"They loved to play and run around the hallways and I used to say 'look, you guys are too big to be running around in the hallways, you might run over my little kids, and then we're going to have a problem,'" he remembers. "But he was a great kid and actually he didn't have a choice, his mom made sure that he stayed grounded, she really was the engine that pushed him."
Wanda Pratt - the driving force behind her son's success - made sure that push included college.
She said to us I don't know anything about the basketball part but I want to make sure he's going to be taken care of academically," said Rick Barnes, former UT Head Basketball Coach.
KD transferred to Montrose Christian Academy during his senior year, where he became the nation's top recruit, leaving DC to play for the University of Texas.
"I'm a better person and a better coach spending just one year with Kevin Durant," said Barnes.
And after that one year at Texas - KD finally joined the ranks of the NBA.
"The things that he's doing in the league, I mean he pretty much did those things here as a 9th and 10th grader, hand in shoot, unstoppable scorer, his athleticism is a lot better now," said Coach Brown.
Now entering his final year of his contract with the Thunder, KD will have to make a decision about which court he wants to rule from here on out, many who believe that court could be back home in D.C.
"He's like one of those country boys, Oklahoma suits him fine," said Rawls. "I don't think it's about the money, so me personally, I think he's going to stay in Oklahoma."