Kevin Durant may have a new home, but his heart remains invested in the OKC community.
Despite signing with the Golden State Warriors for the 2016-17 season, Kevin Durant has not forgotten his loyal fans and important connections in Oklahoma City. Last month, Durant donated $57,000 to Positive Tomorrows, a local elementary school committed to educating homeless children.
Durant’s memorable 2014 MVP acceptance speech revealed that growing up, he experienced the difficulties of unstable and inconsistent housing. Calling on his personal story, Durant took a special interest in Positive Tomorrows during his eight years with the OKC Thunder. He funded summer programs for students, donated shoes and presents at Christmas and contributed to building renovations. His most recent gift will buy land for construction of a new building for the nonprofit school.
According to Positive Tomorrows, Oklahoma is the 7th worst state in the country in homeless children with more than 7,500 in central Oklahoma alone. Even with all of the great work the school is doing to support these kids and their parents, they are not able to accept all applicants because of space constraints. Durant’s donation will allow the school to build more classrooms to accommodate more children in need.
The transient life of a professional athlete can make investing in communities a challenge. Sometimes, it seems futile to make investments in long-term projects and programs when an athlete could be traded away at any point. Many athletes decide that it makes sense to support initiatives in their hometowns because, regardless of their current team, they have deep connections to their childhood communities. If and when an athlete signs a multi-year contract, they may feel more inclined to make larger investments with their time and money in their current city. Still, once traded, it can be hard to decide what to do with their foundations or projects. Joakim Noah confronted this challenge when he was traded to the New York Knicks. Ultimately, Noah decided to keep and expand his foundation in Chicago. When Dwyane Wade was traded to the Bulls, he chose to keep running foundation programs in Miami, while also creating more programming in Chicago. It depends on each athlete’s situation, but it is important for each to consider the sustainability of their projects in the event that they leave the city. Durant spent the better part of his NBA career in OKC, and despite his move to the Bay Area, he remains loyal to the relationships he built with Oklahoma City community members.
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