NBA champ Kevin Durant makes Prince George's County proud

After Kevin Durant's Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship Monday night, Durant made a point to thank the people of Prince George's County, where he grew up and started playing the game as an 8-year-old.

SEAT PLEASANT, MD (WUSA9) - Joseph Colclaugh came to the new basketball courts behind the Seat Pleasant Activity Center to have his photo taken Tuesday.

"I'm proud of it," Colclaugh said as he marveled at the colorful blue and white courts that were just dedicated last month and paid for with a $50,000 donation by newly crowned NBA champion Kevin Durant.

The courts are now a landmark for any NBA fan. The activity center is where Durant played as a child. He has not forgotten this place.

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After Durant's Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship Monday night, Durant made a point to thank the people of Prince George's County, where he grew up and started playing the game as an 8-year-old.

The smooth courts, with Durant's initials incorporated into the sweeping graphics on the surface and gleaming new backboards, are a far cry from the cracked asphalt and bent rims that are more typically found in this economically challenged part of Prince George's County.

Durant is remembered here as a humble player who had a stunning capacity to focus and work on his game.

"He'd get here at 8 in the morning sometimes and go all the way to 8 p.m. and be working on his game the whole time," said Melvin McCray, who supervised Durant and who still serves as the Activity Center's Director of Child Development.

"He's an extremely humble person," McCray said. "The same 8-year-old kid is the same 29-year-old I know today."

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Durant wears the number 35 on his jersey. The number is dedicated to his childhood coach, Charles Craig, who was murdered in Laurel, Md. when Durant was 16-years-old. Durant considered Craig a mentor and father figure during the years Durant's own father was not involved in his life. Craig was 35 when he was killed.

Durant is considered a role model to kids in the Prince George's County area, and not just the ones who play basketball. 

Victor Jones of nearby Palmer Park is an aspiring magician who hopes to play stages in Las Vegas someday. Like Durant, he works on his skills five to six hours per day in a neighborhood recreation center.

"He's definitely an inspiration," Jones said. "He's proving to everyone you can be from here and be somebody."

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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