I was fortunate enough to meet and begin working with Kevin Durant while he was a junior at Oak Hill. We continued to work together the following year when he transferred to Montrose Christian (where I was the team's strength and conditioning coach). Although I don't currently work with him, we still keep in touch and have maintained a solid friendship over the years.
While the entire planet is aware of what an exceptional basketball player KD is, I have always been most proud of him as a person. His character is unmatched. He is kind, generous, humble, and authentic. He is an exemplary role model in every sense of the word. His passion for the game is pure and his work ethic is unparalleled. He is the real deal.
KD had an unbelievable summer during the NBA lockout, as he traveled the country on a summer league tour—playing games both outside and indoors—and creating sick highlight reels. Do you know the most impressive part? He does it all for a love of the game. Not for fame. Not for money. He is a special talent and a special person and I am thankful to call him a friend.
Below is a list of 15 things you can learn from KD. As you will see, the things that make him successful extend beyond the court and can be applied to any part of your life.
1. KD holds himself to a very high standard. He puts every ounce of his heart, soul, and love into becoming the best player he can be.
2. KD is extremely loyal to his family, friends, teammates, and coaches. He keeps his inner circle tight and never forgets the folks who have helped him.
3. KD doesn't care who he works out with, he just wants to play. He'll do drills alongside high school players, many of which will never see an NBA court. He works out for one reason: to get better.
4. KD is humble. He has not let success warp his values or his personality.
5. KD genuinely cares about people and he isn't afraid to show it. He greets everyone with a smile and is always respectful and polite.
6. KD keeps himself in great shape all of the time. Even when the start of the NBA season is months and months away.
7. KD is always positive. Always.
8. KD loves his fans. He signs more autographs and takes more pictures then anyone I have ever seen. He interacts with thousands of fans on Twitter. He is as accessible as any star player can be.
9. KD accepts coaching. He is humble enough to know that he still has a lot to learn. He has no ego when it comes to taking direction.
10. KD develops his entire 'game'... and I don't mean on the court. He has matured tremendously as a public speaker (press conferences, commercials, etc.) and as a businessman (his brand's reputation is impeccable).
11. KD goes hard all of the time. Every rep of every set of every workout. Sprints, shooting drills, ball-handling, it doesn't matter. He gives his best every time. He is never casual.
12. KD never gets complacent. He is one of the top players in the NBA and he still works out and practices more than almost every player in the league. Coincidence? Nope!
13. KD is not flashy. He is almost always the most talented player in the gym during workouts (not to mention the wealthiest), but you would never know that by the way he carries himself.
14. KD works to help those around him get better. He'll correct a high school kid and offer tips on how he can improve his footwork. He'll stop a future NBA Hall of Famer and let him know he could have thrown a better pass. He wants to get better, and he wants everyone around him to get better too.
15. KD's favorite quote is "Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard." He lives that quote to the fullest.