With or without a lockout, it’s undeniable that the summer of 2011 featured plenty of incredible basketball moments. NBA players traveled the world, participated in streetball games and charity events, acted in movies and television shows, took up new hobbies and plenty more, all to enjoy themselves, promote their brands and take their minds off the messy labor negotiations that have clouded the League’s otherwise bright future. Our “Dear Summer” series will be providing video/photo galleries of all of your favorite players’ offseasons, allowing you the opportunity to check out (almost) everything they’ve been up to since the ’10-11 season ended, all in one place. Up first: the birthday boy and King of Summer himself, Kevin Durant.

by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad

What Kevin Durant has done this summer has been simply phenomenal. He’s taken his skills to another level and, perhaps, become the NBA’s most popular and marketable star. (At the least, he’s one of them.) He has become a man for the people, not afraid to rub elbows the same folks who ball on some of the most rugged courts in the country. Like Paul Wall, Durant had the Internet going nuts with an endless stream of highlights and incredible moments that have led him to truly become The People’s Champ.

In honor of Durant’s 23rd birthday today, we compiled the gallery above for a look at the dude’s ridiculous summer, so roll through it and check out how much he accomplished for yourself. Happy born day KD, keep doing your thing!