AUSTIN (KXAN) — A little more than a month after NBA All-Star Kevin Durant helped the Golden State Warriors win the 2017 NBA finals, the basketball legend is headed back to Austin to invest in the community.
Thursday morning at the IDEA Rundberg campus in north Austin, Durant surprised a group of 40 students from the school who were invited to a basketball clinic run by an instructor from the Kevin Durant Youth Basketball Fantasy Pro Camp. The camp is part of his Summer of Opportunity initiative with BBVA Compass.
Durant has visited IDEA Rundberg before; last September the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation was a partner along with BBVA in giving the school a $100,000 outdoor basketball court. Durant said it was “unbelievable” for him to watch that court now being enjoyed by so many students.
The 2017 NBA Finals MVP walked onto the court and looked right at home giving students tips on their free-throws.
“I was pumped to be at the camp and then I was overwhelmed with a lot of emotions and like shocked,” said Ne’Ryah Roberson, an IDEA Rundberg student who met Durant Thursday.
“Meeting Kevin Durant has actually motivated me more to become a basketball player in the near future,” Roberson said with a smile. “It was very motivating and it was very inspiring to see Kevin Durant coming to our school and knowing that he supports us at IDEA Rundberg.”
IDEA Rundberg Principal Taylor Nichols was thrilled to have Durant on campus for a second time.
“To believe that just going to school and just waking up is going to mean that the future is going to be sealed is absolutely impossible, so having someone like Kevin come here, having our teachers who get up every single day and put in extra hours, is absolutely essential in this day and age,” Nichols said.
Students Thursday had the chance to ask Durant whatever questions they wanted, and they threw him some challenging ones. One student asked Durant how he felt during the transition from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Warriors.
“I wouldn’t say difficult, but it was different because I was so used to something for so long and to just get up and switch like that drastically, it’s always change,” Durant explained. “But I’m comfortable now and enjoying where I am. My teammates have been great throughout the whole season, [so have] the coaching staff fans in the Bay Area so I’m excited.”
Durant added that he can’t wait for next season, and while he knows another championship title isn’t a guarantee, he’d love to see the Warriors be champions again next year.
“Why did you not go play for the Cavaliers?’” one student wondered.
“Because the Warriors just looked so much better” Durant responded, sparking laughter.
Another student asked Durant why giving back to schools like theirs is important to him.
“It’s important to me because my journey very first started as a basketball player by coming outdoors every day and seeing the ball bouncing on the court, across the street from my apartment building,” Durant responded.
“I would hear the ball bouncing all night and wake up and see my friends playing all day, and so that inspired me to go out and learn the game. To be out there with my friends and as a kid that was probably the most memorable time of my life and I want to try and give that kind of feeling back to you guys.”
The basketball star who played for UT Austin for one year before he went to the NBA draft said that Austin has had a significant impact on him. He also spent several summers in the off-season living in Austin with his college teammates.
“That whole time molded me into who I am and created some great memories, and you know I’m glad that we can work together as a community and hopefully we can bring bigger and better things here,” he said.
Durant, who is hosting his Youth Basketball Fantasy Pro Camp at UT Austin this week, also filmed a video with around 500 UT Austin students in Gregory Gym on Thursday afternoon. Students in attendance told KXAN this filming was “super cool” and full of “lots of dunks.”
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