Kevin Durant makes first appearance in NBA Finals
Kevin Durant is one of the biggest stars in the NBA, and Tuesday night he made his first appearance in the NBA Finals, with his team the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But before Durant became a superstar, he was known as a quiet, police young man who practically lived on the basketball court of a small Prince George's County community center.
"Words really can't describe how it feels to have one of our own in the NBA championship," said Brian Shivers, who used to help coach Durant at the Seat Pleasant Activity Center.
Shivers said Durant had an amazing work ethic and showed promise from the time he was just 8-years-old.
"As he grew, I realized -- this kid is going to be special," Shivers said.
Shivers added that it was not unusual for Durant to spend 16 hours a day the activity center. He and his teammates would often jog around the area and sprint up nearby L Street Hill, a steep incline that Durant would run up over and over.
"He always put the time in the gym, he always wanted to get better," said Brian's son Keith Shivers, who used to play Durant one-on-one. "Everybody looked up to Kevin. He was the role model at the gym."
Keith dreams of playing in the NBA as well someday and said Durant is an inspiration for him and his teammates.
"If one person can make it, we all can make it. We just have to keep pushing and working hard, like he did," Keith said.
Durant went on to play high school ball at National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, Oak Hill Academy in southwest Virginia and he played his senior year at Montrose Christian School in Rockville.
He played one year at the University of Texas before starting his NBA career in 2007.
In the 2009-2010 season, he became the youngest player in NBA history to win the scoring title, and he won it again the past two seasons.
But despite all his success, people around Seat Pleasant say Durant has never forgotten where he came from.
Shivers said he comes back every year for an anti-violence youth summit, and he spends a lot of time with the kids.
"He comes down, talks to them, asks them how they're doing in school...takes them to lunch, things which you don't see often with athletes," he said.
Seat Pleasant residents ABC7 talked to say they’ll be hanging on every play in the NBA Finals. They’re hoping the next time Durant comes back to town, he’ll arrive as an NBA champion.
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