Kevin Durant: Full of WNBA Love
The three-time NBA scoring champion is a great supporter of the WNBA.
by Stephen Litel / @stephenlitel
Kevin Durant, who led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals last night, is an NBA darling. He understands that he is, in fact, a role model to children—and adults—across the world, and embraces that fact, and he’s also in the age bracket of men who grew up with the WNBA in existence and openly supports the league.
“When I was coming up the WNBA was just getting assembled,” said Durant. “Chamique Holdsclaw was the next big thing. She came and played for the Mystics and every game I could go to, I went to. She just brought a lot of excitement to the city as far as basketball. We had the Wizards, but to have her there as another face and they were winning basketball games, that was something I really clung to. I was able to enjoy it since then because she really helped build my love for basketball.”
The way he speaks about Holdsclaw seems to mirror how fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder and his fans around the League feel about him, never more than today, after his team defeated the San Antonio Spurs and will represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. Holdsclaw may have been one of his first connections to the league, but Durant continues to have many connections to the league to this day.
“I know a few from high school or who went to McDonald’s games,” said Durant. “Monica Wright, who plays in Minnesota, I’m in love with that girl. She’s an unbelievable player. There are a lot who come through and I’ve been associated with.”
As someone who, obviously, knows the game of basketball, Durant has seen the growth in the league and the product on the court. There are many who like to make jokes at the expense of the WNBA and its players, but you’ll never hear that from the three-time NBA scoring champion. At 6-9 and 235 pounds, Durant does things on the court considered to be new-school, things a man of his size should not be able to do. He sees the same occurring in the WNBA and expects the level of athleticism to continue to grow.
“Yeah, no doubt it’s getting more athletic,” said Durant. “Players are starting to be over the rim and as the game and time goes on, of course the league is going to grow. You’re seeing more height in players, like 6-4 shooting guards, point guards in this league. I’m just excited to see the league grow and to be a fan.”
Durant is a fan and supporter of the WNBA and he also feels as if the negative attention some NBA fans give the league isn’t right or appropriate. Not only is the product on the court something worth respect and enjoyable to basketball fans, the women in the league do a lot off the court to inspire and motivate the next generation, no matter whether they have goals of playing basketball or dreams of accomplishments in other endeavors.
“I feel like they don’t get their due as players and ambassadors of the game,” said Durant. “Women’s basketball does a lot for the game, giving a lot of young ladies hope and inspiring a lot of people, so I think they should get their due. That’s just me and I enjoy the game.”
There are college players out there who garner national attention with regularity, such as Brittney Griner or Skylar Diggins, who will bring first-time fans with them to the WNBA when they finally arrive in the league, but there already are plenty of players in the league worthy of respect of basketball fans. If the word of Kevin Durant—the NBA’s golden boy—isn’t a ringing endorsement of the WNBA, nothing is.