What You Don't Know About Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant made his NBA debut with the Seattle Supersonics in the 2007-2008 season, the last for the historic franchise due partly to poor management. The man who helped turn Starbucks into an omnipresent coffee shop, former CEO Howard Schultz, once owned the Supersonics and contributed to its downfall, according to The Ringer. Fortunately, Durant was unscathed and went on to win Rookie of the Year. The following season, he joined the Oklahoma City Thunder and stayed for eight seasons before joining the Golden State Warriors (via NBA). In his first two seasons with his new team, Durant won the NBA finals and was also named the Finals MVP in both series. Outside of the NBA, Durant won three gold medals with the USA Men's Olympic basketball team. Even more, he was named the MVP of the Tokyo Olympics and was the all-time leader in points for team USA as of 2021.

Amazingly, Durant seems to keep getting better with age. Towards the end of 2021, he led the NBA with the highest scoring average, his highest personal average since he won the MVP in the 2013-2014 season, the NBA reported.

Behind all the accolades is a sometimes more complex history for Durant, like a lonely childhood and struggling with everything that comes with life as an NBA superstar. But as many of his competitors know, Durant has proven his ability to thrive under pressure and overcome any obstacle. This is what you don't know about Kevin Durant.

Inside Kevin Durant's childhood

Kevin Durant grew up in Prince George's county Maryland in the city of Seat Pleasant. The young boy was raised mostly by his mother because Durant was one year old when his dad Wayne left and would only periodically visit or move back in. "He helped with child support, but wasn't the presence that they needed from a father," Durant's mom told Rolling Stone about Wayne. Durant also lived in Suitland, Maryland, he explained to Google. But his time as a kid was often isolated. "I didn't really have friends," Durant revealed to The New York Times. "I was quiet. I was awkward-sized," the future NBA star admitted. According to Durant, the fact that he didn't consider himself a popular kid "made it easy for me to not worry about the social life and just play basketball." Plus, his pure love of the sport was reason enough to keep playing. "I started to play the game just because I loved playing basketball," he said in a YouTube video. He also looked up to superstar Michael Jordan, who inspired Durant to pick up basketball, per Google.

Basketball helped introduce Durant to a friend who would go on to also play in the NBA, Michael Beasley. "We had a good time as kids, man," Durant told ESPN. The two guys often practiced together and played on the same high school team. After college, Durant then Beasley were both the number two picks in the NBA draft.

Life for Kevin Durant in the big leagues

When Kevin Durant entered the NBA, those around him also benefited from his rising star power. Childhood friends from Maryland moved into his luxurious house, "lived it up at his place and drove his cars to the clubs," Rolling Stone reported. Durant admitted that at the time, he was a people-pleaser and cared less about his own well-being. "I was in that trance so long, it was affecting my life," he recalled. Fortunately, Durant made a radical change and kicked out everyone living with him except his half-brother and one other friend.

Durant explained of his rise in the NBA, "when you make it to the league, especially from where I'm from, it's like everybody made it," he told The New York Times. Expectations of unlimited spending and big parties weighed on Durant, who felt much more at ease on the basketball court. "I can remember times going to a club, I had 30 people with me. I'm thinking to myself, this was never me. But if you've never had the support outwardly like that, people showing you affection in your face, love in your face, even if it's fake, you try to grab that because it feels good for the moment," he reflected. Durant admitted these experiences made him feel even more lonely and negatively affected his social skills. The NBA star also said it took him a while to finally go out again in groups and meet new people.

Kevin Durant is also a businessman

Kevin Durant has shown more than just physical skills in basketball by becoming a hard-working entrepreneur. His love of investing and becoming involved with other businesses grew even more after moving to the Bay Area as a member of the Golden State Warriors. After games, he would hang out with celebrities in the local tech community. 

For example, Durant once "celebrated his birthday at a lavish barbecue at the house of Ben Horowitz, the influential venture capitalist," per The New York Times. Soon after, Durant was spotted "at the home of Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president for internet software and services, along with Tim Cook, Apple chief executive, and Pharrell Williams." According to Durant, he liked hanging out with the techies because he found similarities with his own story. "They built something from the ground up, so they can relate to us," Durant said. He explained, "I think that's why a lot of athletes and entertainers work well with some of those guys, because for one, they all had humble beginnings." As a result, the NBA star founded his eponymous investment vehicle, the Durant Company.

Some of the higher profile companies that Durant invested in were Postmates and the financial app Acorns, The Undefeated reported. His company later rebranded to be called Thirty Five Ventures. With this venture, Durant invested in more than 75 companies as of 2021 with a wide-ranging portfolio, like businesses for cryptocurrency and media, according to his NBA profile.

Kevin Durant's complex love life

In the perfect basketball couple, Kevin Durant was linked up romantically with WNBA player Monica Wright. The two knew each other since high school and were engaged to be married but separated before tying the knot. Looking back at the failed relationship with his fiancée, "I really didn't know how to, like, love her, you know what I'm saying? We just went our separate ways," Durant told GQ. He admitted that while he loved Wright, "I didn't love her the right way." Durant took the separation hard and admitted thinking, "Am I gonna be alone forever? Am I gonna have kids?" At his lowest points, Durant confessed, "I feel like there's no hope. But I still gotta have faith."

For Wright's side of the story, she said she was criticized for her faith during the relationship. "I had to make a decision about compromising myself as a woman. I had to make a decision to leave a relationship, which a lot of people thought I was crazy to leave," Wright revealed to Risen Magazine.

Following his separation from Wright, Durant was rumored to be with a few different women. For example, he was allegedly linked up with Jasmine Shine. The two even sparked engagement rumors, which ultimately fizzled out. Then, Durant may have been together with two more sports stars, "volleyball player Cassandra Anderson and basketball player, Jaden Owen, who he allegedly has been following regularly on Instagram," per The Sun.

Snapping photos with Kevin Durant

One of Kevin Durant's favorite hobbies is being an amateur photographer, according to The New York Times. Switching the script of being the subject of so many action shots, Durant went to Super Bowl 50 working for Derek Jeter's website The Players' Tribune as an official photographer for the football game. When Durant said the site and the NFL reached out for his assistance, "I said 'I'll do it' before they even finished their question. Seriously, that's a dream offer." 

During the big game, Durant snapped photos of Lady Gaga performing and a victory by the Denver Broncos led by Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. At the end of the night, Durant said he was grateful for the experience and learned a lot. Especially "that sports photography is hard work and it takes a lot of skill and focus in a crazy atmosphere with a lot of distractions." Durant further explained, "I have a ton of respect for the people who do this as a profession. I've got many more hours to put in."

Back in the NBA, Durant's former teammate Russell Westbrook once teased him for his love of photography. When showing up for their first game against each other, Westbrook wore a bright vest that said "official photographer." He may have been using the outfit as a mind game since it was before game one of the 2016 playoff series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors.

Kevin Durant uses his words off the court

When he lived in Oakland, California, Kevin Durant wasn't only practicing his jump shot. He also had a home studio where he would record music. Working with recording engineer Raleigh Dunn, the NBA star used rapping "more like an audio diary, intended only for himself and close friends," The New York Times reported. 

Durant used music as a form of meditation to help focus on and off the court. "I've got so much stuff on my mind, quite honestly, it's kind of easy for me to say it all here," Durant said about his studio sessions. Rapping "keeps me in the moment. It takes my mind off this crazy world," he said. Durant may have known about the healing power of music when he helped P'Tones Records for a project to build music studios for high school students, he posted on Twitter.

Going beyond private therapy sessions, fans had a chance to hear Durant rapping alongside LeBron James. The two basketball players recorded a song "It Ain't Easy" during the 2011 NBA lockout. With the free time, both Durant and James were "just fooling around in a recording studio in Ohio" (via ESPN). The track's producer Franky Stewart, told Vice, "Originally it was only going to be Kevin Durant that was going to record, cause he did music and stuff, but then LeBron James ended up showing up." Durant also has solo material, like his 2012 song "Tha Formula," per HotNewHipHop.

Kevin Durant and his four eyes

Though it would be hard to tell from his incredible performances, Kevin Durant admitted that his eyesight was getting worse. In a 2011 tweet he said, "Doctor told me I need glasses, should I Buck Williams them people or wear contacts during competitive basketball events?" The former Portland Trail Blazers star Williams was known for once rocking impressively big goggles during NBA games, per ESPN

Durant then switched to prescription glasses off-court, which became one of his signature looks. "He presently favors geek-chic glasses in eye-catching hues," Teen Vogue reported. But Durant admitted that when he was on the court, he wouldn't even use contacts. "I've been playing basketball my whole life," he said. Durant added that crystal clear vision wasn't necessary for him because "I know where the three-point line is, where the hoop is. I don't know if I could play blind, but I'll sure try one day."

His glasses became such an eye-conic part of his wardrobe that Nike teamed up with Durant in 2017 to release the Kevin Durant Signature Eyewear Collection, "which offers three frames for adults and three for kids," Sports Illustrated reported. The collection was such a success that the following year, Nike released the KD Eyewear collection. Along with four new optical frames, the line featured two pairs of sunglasses that were inspired by "Durant's on-court movements," per Fashion Network. All designs featured Durant's signature laser etched onto the frame plus a "KD" logo.

Kevin Durant is one fashionable guy

Early in Kevin Durant's professional basketball career, he sported a backpack to the post-game press conferences during the 2011 NBA playoffs. With fans wondering whether the backpack was an aesthetic statement or more functional, a reporter asked Durant what he carried inside. He revealed the contents included his iPad, headphones, phone chargers, and a Bible. Durant told Nike that sometimes he also carried a ball, socks, shoes, and water on his back. "Since I was seven years old, I've always been attached to my backpack," Durant revealed. "It represents the hard work I learned from my family, and it will always remind me of my journey to get to where I am," he added. Nike and the NBA star joined together for a special KD backpack line, which launched in 2012.

More than just accessories, Durant loves to wear a wide-range of clothing. On the more expensive side is his custom clothing, which he often needs made-to-measure because of his huge height. But he also owns ready-to-wear designer clothes from luxury brands like Comme des Garçon, Balmain, and Givenchy, according to Teen Vogue. "I don't try too hard, but I like to stand out," Durant said about his sense of fashion. Some of his most prized possessions are his vintage t-shirts from the '80s and '90s. "I take pride in my collection," Durant told The New York Times. When it comes to style, Durant said "fashion is what you make of it."

Kevin Durant went from a baller to a streamer

Kevin Durant debuted his YouTube channel in 2017 to give fans behind-the-scenes access to his life as an NBA star. "I look forward to bringing you some cool content. Hopefully you'll enjoy it and have some fun with me," Durant said in his channel's welcome video (via Sports Illustrated). More than just a virtual backstage pass to the Golden State Warriors, Durant's fans saw the star showing off his impressive home and car collection. In his first live stream, Durant showed a view from his house, plus a look at his adorable dog. He explained that "somebody talked me into getting onto YouTube, so here I am. Expect a lot more out of me." Durant delivered on his promise and continued to publish entertaining content. 

"In less than a year, Durant's channel has picked up nearly 590,000 subscribers and over 21 million video views," Fortune reported. As of 2021, Durant's YouTube channel had over 770,000 subscribers. "I've had an incredible experience on YouTube engaging with fans all around the world and sharing different parts of my life," Durant said in a statement.

In fact, his success caught the eye of YouTube and he partnered with the video platform to help other athletes create successful channels. "It was natural for me to want to show other athletes what they can achieve on YouTube and to ensure my Thirty Five Media team and I can be a resource for those athletes," Durant explained.

The globetrotting ways of Kevin Durant

In 2017, Kevin Durant flew across the world to India to show locals his impressive skills. On his trip to Delhi, Durant had a chance to taste local specialties and take in one of the seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal, as seen in his YouTube video. Durant also partnered with the NBA Academy India to set the Guinness World Record for the largest basketball lesson. A total of 3,459 Indian children joined in, a combination of live attendees and others via satellite, the NBA reported. "Sharing my love of basketball with thousands of boys and girls across India was an unbelievable experience," Durant said. "It was an honor to coach these amazing kids and to be a part of this special day," he added.

Looking back on the experience, Durant said his time in India was eye opening. "I saw the culture and how they live and it was rough. It's a country that's 20 years behind in terms of knowledge and experience," he told The Athletic. He added about India, "You see cows in the street, monkeys running around everywhere, hundreds of people on the side of the road, a million cars and no traffic violations. Just a bunch of underprivileged people there and they want to learn how to play basketball." Durant then faced backlash for his comments during the interview. As a result, Durant apologized on Twitter by saying that his words were "taken out of context."

The real reason Kevin Durant left Oklahoma

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant had future Hall of Fame player Russell Westbrook by his side most games. The fans loved both players but especially Durant, who often avoided harsh criticisms when the team lost, according to The Bleacher Report. Durant even hinted that he may like to spend his entire NBA career with the organization, which made his departure to the Golden State Warriors even more shocking. Allegedly, "Durant's frustration with Westbrook finally pushed him away" from the team. Though Durant denied these claims, the NBA star later explained why he left town. Durant claimed that with the Thunder, "I didn't play with a lot of skill guys, not like shooters [and] ball-handlers," per CBS. "I was tired of being the only guy who could make threes, make jump shots, and consistently make them," he explained.

According to Durant, there were no hard feelings from Westbrook after leaving the team to head to the west coast. Durant added their eight years of playing together forged a bond that wouldn't be broken. "Obviously he's now with a new team. But we definitely will talk. Eventually. But, obviously, now we haven't," Durant told the Oklahoman about Westbrook. In a 2017 interview, Durant claimed that any perceived bad blood between him and Westbrook was "'fake drama' whipped up by the news media," per The New York Times. After a game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Washington Wizards in 2020, both men hugged.

Kevin Durant's social media struggle

Kevin Durant made an embarrassing social media mistake in 2017 when he accidentally revealed he used a secret Twitter account. He responded to a tweet claiming Durant's decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder was strictly to win a championship. Durant replied talking in the third person but from his verified account, which fans quickly spotted. The since-deleted tweet said, "he didn't like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan. His roster wasn't that good, it was just him and russ," via Sports Illustrated. "I wasn't used to that amount of attention, you know, from playing basketball," Durant said in his defense on ESPN. "I wanted a place where I could talk to my friends without anybody just butting in my conversations or mixing my words or taking everything out of context. I enjoyed that place," he explained. But at one point, posting updates and thoughts became too much for the NBA star. He revealed on a live stream, "I got off social media, I got off the Instagram and Twitter and all that stuff just to feel a little bit more ... to distance myself a bit."

Eventually, Durant returned to social media but still created controversy. The NBA fined the star $50,000 for his use of "offensive and derogatory" language on Twitter directed at actor Michael Rapaport, per The New York Times. As of 2021 his Twitter account had over 19 million followers and his Instagram account over 12 million followers.

How tall is Kevin Durant?

Kevin Durant said that his height varies depending on who you ask. But no one would argue that he is incredibly tall. "Some say I'm 6'9", some say I'm 6'10", some say 6'11"," he told Google. According to his official NBA profile, Durant is listed at a towering six feet and ten inches. Even with his huge frame, one of Durant's most special qualities is his beautiful movement on the court. A reporter for The New York Times said they had never seen an NBA star look "more natural or graceful on a basketball court" thanks in part to his "frictionless glide." This was a long way to come from his early days when people were quick to criticize his look. For example, since he had impressively long arms and was very thin, people referred to Durant as a "seven-foot-tall Pez dispenser."

Durant's measurements are extraordinary too when it comes to footwear. The star wears size 18 shoes, some of the biggest ever in the NBA. For reference, LeBron James wears a size 15 shoe and famous big man Shaquille O'Neal size 22 shoes, SB Nation reported. Durant even once blamed his shoe size for a loss. In a playoff game for the Brooklyn Nets, Durant pulled up for a three point shot to end the game. Instead, he barely stepped on the line, which meant the shot only counted for two. "My big a** foot stepped on the line," he said post-game, per ESPN.

The charitable side of Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant started the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation (KDCF) in 2013 to help children across the world and "to enrich the lives of at-risk youth from low-income backgrounds through educational, athletic and social programs." Even more, Durant and his foundation helped communities with a focus on "addressing homelessness, youth athletics, girl's empowerment, social justice, and disaster relief." In his hometown of Prince George's County in Maryland, the NBA star created The Durant Center to educate people in the community and provide various services. For example, the center launched an initiative called College Track to promote STEM, host entrepreneurial programs, and teach children about financial literacy. Of course, KDCF also has been building basketball courts around the US, plus two in India, to be accessible to underprivileged youth.

Durant has been very generous with his money throughout his career. For example, he teamed up with the deodorant brand Degree in 2020 to promote youth athletics and help three different charities in New York. Both Durant and Degree "donated $1M to 10 organizations that will help teach kids how to use the power of sports to combat social issues," Kristian Winfield reported on Twitter

This wasn't the first time Durant used six figures to help others. Following devastating tornadoes throughout Oklahoma City in 2013, he donated $1 million in matching donations to the American Red Cross. Durant posted on Twitter, "Praying for the victims of the Tornadoes in OKC these last few days..Everybody stay safe!"

How much is Kevin Durant worth?

For the 2021-2022 NBA season, Kevin Durant was the fifth highest paid star in the league. His salary of $42,018,900 even exceeded that of LeBron James, per ESPN. This was part of a four-year, $164 million contract that he signed with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019, Forbes reported. Given that it was also his 14th year in the NBA, Durant has been accruing a hefty sum each year. Even more, Durant had numerous sponsorship deals that are worth a reported $40 million. This all in addition to his venture capital firm and numerous investments in many different companies. As of 2021, Durant was worth an estimated $200 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Durant spent some of his money on a mansion in Hidden Hills, California in 2021. To live next to famous neighbors like the Kardashians, Madonna, and Drake, it cost Durant $15.6 million, per Dirt. Prior to the purchase, he lived in an impressive Oakland home for several years. Durant showed the beautiful view once in a video tour of his house. Inside, he hired a private chef and could enjoy his meals on "the world's longest sectional sofa," according to The New York Times. In addition, his Oakland home had "a home recording studio, a recreation room littered with [Washington Football Team] memorabilia, a movie theater that seats 16, and a walk-in closet devoted to sneakers." More than just sneakers, Durant also owned abstract artwork and a $59,000 Vacheron Constantin watch.