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‘I’m still standing,’ Durant gives emotional speech as NBA confirms what OKC knew all along; KD is MVP!

 


OKLAHOMA CITY – We always knew it but now it’s official. OKC Thunder’s Kevin Durant is the NBA’s Most Valuable Player of 2014.

The NBA confirmed Tuesday KD has been named the winner of the Maurice Podoloff trophy as the 2013-2014 Kia NBA MVP.

It is the first time Durant has ever won this award, capturing his fourth scoring title in five seasons, joining Wilt Chamberlain, George Gervin and Michael Jordan as the only players to accomplish the feat.

According to the OKC Thunder, Durant totaled 1,232 points, including 119 first-place votes, from a panel of 125 voters that consisted of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada as well as an NBA.com MVP fan vote.

During the 2013-14 season, Durant averaged a career-best 32.0 points to go with 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists, also a career high.

KD has led the league in scoring four of the past five seasons but Miami Heat forward LeBron James has taken home the award two straight years.

The five time all-star caught most of the basketball world’s attention when he scored at least 25 points in 41 straight games this season.

The 25-year-old forward also set career marks in points in a single game, 54, and scoring average in a season, 32 points per game, this year.

The former Texas Longhorn is the first player since Allen Iverson in 2000-2001 to win both the scoring title and MVP in the same season, according to ESPN.

The NBA MVP trophy is named in honor of the late Maurice Podoloff, the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement in 1963.

2013-14 KIA NBA MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD RESULTS

  1. Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City (119 of 125 1st place votes)
  2. LeBron James – Miami
  3. Blake Griffin – Los Angeles
  4. Joakim Noah – Chicago
  5. James Harden – Houston
  6. Stephen Curry – Golden State
  7. Chris Paul – Los Angeles
  8. Al Jefferson – Carlotte
  9. Paul George – Indiana
  10. LaMarcus Aldridge – Portland
  11. Kevin Love – Minnesota
  12. Tim Duncan – San Antonio
  13. Tony Parker – San Antonio
  14. Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas
  15. Carmelo Anthony – New York
  16. Goran Dragic – Phoenix
  17. Mike Conley – Memphis

Sam Presti, the Thunder’s general manager, said, “I don’t think it could have been earned any more purely.”

During a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Presti spoke about “the individual, the athlete and the teammate we have been so fortunate to be around.”

Presti says that Durant’s ability to step back this season to help the team made him an MVP in Oklahoma City, even if the NBA had never made it official.

Presti recognized him as an ambassador and a tremendous citizen.

Scott Brooks, Thunder’s head coach, said, “He is as humble as a superstar you will ever come across.”

Brooks added, “He is committed to all of you and, to me, that is special.”

Each MVP is also awarded a 2014 Kia Sorento.

Durant decided to donate the vehicle to a youth and family services organization from Moore.

Durant started off by saying, “I’m usually good at talking but I’m a little nervous today.”

He said, “I’d like to thank God for changing my life and really realizing what life is about. Basketball is just a platform.”

Durant said he never thought he could make it to college or play in the NBA. In fact, his dream was to become a rec league coach.

He said, “So many people believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself….  I fell so many times and got back up. I’ve been through the toughest times with my family but I’m still standing.”

Durant said he thought his mom just wanted to get the kids out of the house for a couple of hours by taking them to the gym but he fell in love with the game.

When addressing Kendrick Perkins, he said, “I hated you before you got here but the moment you got here, you changed my whole perception of you…You’re the best teammate.”

He began crying when speaking about Perkins telling him he was an MVP.

Perkins said, “I’d never lie to you.”

When talking about Thabo Sefolosha, he said, “You went to work from day one, you also believed in me. I appreciate you so much, man. You being a part of this journey.”

Durant said that when Caron Butler came to the team, he found a note that Butler had put in his locker that just said ‘MVP.’

He says it came after two or three straight losses.

He said, “I go home and I think about that stuff, when you got people behind you.”

To Serge Ibaka, he said, “Thank you for giving me confidence when I didn’t have it…. and making me realize that I’m not always right.”

He said the young players “make me so much better without even knowing it.”

He says they give him the extra push he needs even though, “I’m not always the best leader, I’m not always the best player.”

When addressing Russell Westbrook, both players broke down into tears.

Durant said, “I could speak all night about Russell,  an emotional guy who would run through a wall for me. There are days when I just want to tackle you snap out of it and I know you want to do the same. I love you.”

He says that Westbrook receives a lot of unnecessary criticism but said, “I’m the first to have your back, man.”

“Just stay the person you are. Everyone loves you here. I love you. I thank you so much. You make me better.”

He said he always wanted to compete with him.

He said, “You set the bar, you set the tone. You have a big piece of this. You’re an MVP caliber player too.”

He thanked the organization for drafting him from the beginning and believing he could be an MVP player.

When talking to the fans, he said, “We disappoint you guys sometimes but we try our best every single night for you guys. We want to win a championship for you guys…. This city, all they want us to be is ourselves. You love us how we are. We are all a work in progress as men but you still love us.”

Even though the fans, Durant and his teammates broke down into tears several times during his speech, the most emotional part of the ceremony was when the superstar addressed his mom.

He said, “I don’t think you know what you did. You had my brother when you were 18-years-old. Three years later, I came out. The odds were stacked against us;  a single parent with two boys by the time you were 21-years-old. Everybody told us we weren’t supposed to be here. We moved from apartment to apartment by ourselves. One of the best memories I have is when we moved into our first apartment. No bed, no furniture and we just all sat in the living room and hugged each other because that’s when we thought we’d made it. When something good happens to you, I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to look back to what got me here. You wake me up in the middle of the night in the summertime and make me run up the hill, make me do push ups, screaming at me from the sidelines of my games at eight or 9-years-old. We weren’t supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the street, put clothes on our back, food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry, you sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”

Several members of the team, Durant and his mother were in tears by the end of the speech.

His mother received a standing ovation from everyone in the building, including the new MVP.

Watch the entire ceremony below.