I pulled over to the side of the road to watch Kevin Durant’s MVP acceptance speech on Tuesday. I just started a new job a few months ago and my new boss, I’m essentially his assistant, went on vacation this week, leaving all of our department as my responsibility. Tuesday was a very busy day for me and I’d missed watching the live feed of the press conference, my Twitter all abuzz all the day long with tales of “THIS SPEECH” and “I’m crying right now.” My Dad, who’s taken to texting quite a bit lately, sent me a text message that just said “Wow! What a press conference.” I couldn’t wait till I got home to watch it. I had to watch it then, immediately.
So on the side of the road, around where Fullerton meets Southport, I put the aux cord into my phone and turned my cars speakers up. It was really dusty in my car and someone or something kept punching me in the nose. Water kept trying to fall out of my eyes.
I can’t speak for other people, because people who do that suck, but the moment when I came to the realization that Durant was legitimately going to thank every single member of the team was a fun one for me. And let’s just beat the horse to death twice, the fact that Durant used his MVP speech to give praise and show love to everyone around him is the most Durant thing ever. It was fantastic. Sometimes Durant’s calculation when he has a mic in front of him is annoying. It leads to lazy, stock answers from the “Oklahoma City Thunder Personnel Guide To The Media: The Boring Words Are The Right Words” — it’s actually a great book.
But this time his calculation worked for him. He’d given so much thought to what he was saying and it all rolled out of him and through him and got everybody feeling some type of way. I haven’t seen a speech like that before in sports. It was a player knowing the moment was his and taking that moment, one of those few moments when it would seem like the wold was, in fact, revolving around you, and he made it about everyone except him. It was touching and it was tender and it started raining in my eyes early on. It was one of those speeches where someone talks about where they came from so well that you start to think about your own genesis.
But I think, more than anything, Durant’s speech just put into perspective, yet again, how well he and Oklahoma fit together. To be fair, he’d fit in most anywhere, but the guy gets it. He’s as Oklahoma as a Braum’s-Sonic combo restaurant. Those don’t exist, but they should.
A column will never, in a few million years, do that speech justice. Whatever I type is moot because you can just click off this screen, Google “Kevin Durant MVP speech” and give yourself a good 28 minutes of thoughtful, poignant Durant-ness. People, especially after that speech, keep trying to find the words to explain Durant to people. At a certain point there’s nothing left to say. He’s that good. You just sort of go “Well, I mean, you saw what he did tonight.” Metaphors don’t exist that are more entertaining than his play. He is up above the clouds in the golden spaces. He’s not able to be touched by words.
I think, with that speech, Durant got tired of people trying to figure him out. He decided to show them what he was. He decided to show people what and how he thought. He decided, after everyone trying to pen one for him, to write his own narrative for a little bit.
But think pieces are gross. They always become more about the author than subject and that shouldn’t be the case here.
Just go watch that speech again. It’ll make you feel good.