With his mother looking on proudly from the audience and backed
on stage by his Thunder teammates, Durant received the Most Valuable
Player award for the first time in his seven-year career after
capturing his fourth scoring title in five seasons.
In a moving acceptance speech, the 25-year-old forward called his
achievement a team award but left no doubt who was most responsible
for his success.
"My mom," started Durant, unable to choke back his tears. "I don't
think you know what you gave.
"You had my brother when you were 18-years-old. Three years later I
"The odds were stacked against us, a single parent with two boys.
"We wasn't supposed to be here. You made us believe, you kept us off
the street, put clothes on our backs, 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," added Durant as the crowd responded with a
rousing standing ovation.
Durant received 119 first-place votes from a total of 124 votes cast
by sportswriters and broadcasters in North America plus one special
fan vote to bring Miami Heat forward LeBron James's two-year reign
as MVP to an end.
James, who won the MVP title four times in the last five seasons,
finished a distant second with six first-place votes. Blake Griffin
of the Los Angeles Clippers was third, Joakim Noah of the Chicago
Bulls fourth and James Harden of the Houston Rockets rounded out the
"Everything in my life I've had to go take it, nothing was ever
given to me," said Durant. "I had to take it, I wouldn't want it any
"This was another case, if I wanted to win MVP I had to go take it.
I felt this was the year I did that.
"So many great players before me have won this award and just to be
amongst the names ... it's a tremendous honor and I am very
In the best season of his career, the five-time All-Star averaged a
career-best 32 points per game to go with 7.4 rebounds and 5.5
[to top of second column]
His consistency was highlighted by a run of 41 games this season
with at least 25 points, which was the longest streak since Hall of
Famer Michael Jordan did it in 40 straight games during the 1986-87
In capturing his fourth scoring title, he joined Jordan, Wilt
Chamberlain, George Gervin and Allen Iverson as the only players to
win at least four scoring titles.
With All-Star teammate Russell Westbrook sidelined for large chunks
of the regular season with a knee injury, Durant carried a bigger
load but said claiming MVP honors after two years of finishing
runner-up was never his goal.
"I never say I just want to go for the MVP, always want to set team
goals, I want to be the best leader I can be. The best man," said
Durant. "This is the first year where I played basketball where I
didn't put basketball first.
"I put being a better man first and basketball got better."
With the MVP award safely in his trophy case, Durant will quickly
turn his attention back to winning a maiden NBA title.
His Thunder trail the Los Angeles Clippers 1-0 in the best-of-seven
Western Conference semi-final with Game Two scheduled for Wednesday
in Oklahoma City.
(Reporting Steve Keating in Toronto and Julian Linden in New York;
Editing by Frank Pingue)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.