Up Next

NBA

Durant, Warriors make the most of their day off in D.C.

‘Everyone is moved by Kevin Durant and what he means to our community’

Shortly after the Golden State Warriors and a group of students from Seat Pleasant, Maryland, began their tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Kevin Durant excused himself and made his move to the bowels of the building. There he hopped into a black Mercedes passenger van that, upon exiting the museum, made three quick right turns that briefly put Durant northbound on 15th Street and on a direct path to the White House.

No, Durant didn’t have a change of heart about what he was doing on his off day in Washington, D.C. Instead, he was on his way to Suitland High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to officially announce the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation’s $10 million commitment and partnership to launch the College Track, a program that guides students through high school and college.

“It was a dream come true,” Durant said about launching the program. “I’ve met some amazing people over the last year or so to help my dream become a reality. I can’t thank them enough for giving me this opportunity.”

As he made his big announcement at Suitland High, Durant took a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about walking with friends to middle school and hanging out at the local 7-Eleven.

As Durant grew up watching his mother struggle to raise a family in a single-parent household, it was a place where few kids could dream big.

Durant launching College Track might have an impact on that mindset.

“It’s always great when athletes return and give you contributions,” said Segun Eubanks, the chairman of the Prince George’s County Board of Education. “But for Kevin Durant to come back and give $10 million? That’s a huge commitment, and it was good to have him back.”

Tuesday might have been the day where the Golden State Warriors would have shown up at the White House for a ceremony celebrating their NBA championship. The president might have singled out Durant about his role for being named the championship series MVP while winning his first NBA title.

But last year President Donald Trump tweeted that he was disinviting the Warriors to the White House, even before they were officially invited. The reason: Stephen Curry told reporters that he didn’t think the team should visit the White House in the aftermath of the president’s “blame on both sides” remark after violent protests between white supremacists and counterprotesters during a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August.

Coach Steve Kerr allowed the Warriors, the most woke team in the league, to decide what they wanted to do. The choice was made to visit the museum, and the team invited students from Durant’s hometown of Seat Pleasant.

“The kids, their smiles lit up the room,” Kerr said. “Our guys understand how much of an impact they can make on the kids.”

Media was excluded for the Warriors visit to the museum. Visitors to the museum didn’t get a chance to view the exhibits with Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green or the rest of the Warriors, who began their tour with the students and their chaperones after the building closed to the public.

That left three young boys from Arlington, Virginia — brothers Tony and Jimmy Filou and their friend, Matthew Schwab — disappointed. The three, wearing Warriors jerseys, had hoped to meet the players but were denied entry after showing up past closing hours.

“We’re a little disappointed,” said Jimmy Filou, who, wearing a Durant jersey, said Curry was his favorite NBA player.

Both the Warriors and the students arrived at the museum during the late afternoon and, according to a museum employee, gathered in the Oprah Winfrey Theater until the building cleared out. Durant left shortly after 6 p.m. — the time the event at Suitland High was beginning.

The event in Suitland was held in the school’s media center and was attended by a small group of students, school administrators, PTA members and county officials.

“As we planned it, Kevin told us he didn’t want anyone to know and that he didn’t want any type of fanfare,” Eubanks said. “We wanted to respect his wishes.”

College Track is a 10-year program that takes in ninth-graders from underserved communities and provides them resources and guidance that will help them through college. The program began in California, and Durant’s 10-year, $10 million commitment helps fund the first center on the East Coast.

After Tuesday’s announcement at Suitland High, where the inaugural College Track class of 60 students will begin in the fall, the group traveled across the street to the future home of The Durant Center, a state-of-the-art educational facility that’s under construction.

The possibility of taking part in a program that graduates students at a rate “more than double the national average for low-income and first-generation students,” according to the announcement, has created a buzz at Suitland High and its feeder school, Drew Freeman Middle School.

“I spoke to the principal at the high school and middle school and they’re already being approached by students asking where they can sign up,” Eubanks said. “The kids are excited to be a part of this.”

Eubanks said that Durant reaching back to students in his hometown will have a tremendous impact.

“Just the fact that he hosts kids at the museum and does so with his teammates, it sends a message,” Eubanks said. “These kids would have been happy to hang out with the Warriors on a basketball court. They were able to spend time with NBA players at a museum during Black History Month. Everyone is moved by Kevin Durant and what he means to our community.”

Jerry Bembry is a senior writer at The Undefeated. His bucket list items include being serenaded by Lizz Wright, and watching the Knicks play an NBA game in June.