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NBA Star Kevin Durant Made His MVP Speech All About Gratitude

Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant speaks at the news conference after being named NBA MVP.

Last week, with the basketball world watching, Kevin Durant delivered a beautiful, gratitude-filled MVP speech dedicated to his mother, with kind words also for his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates and coaches. The 25-year-old superstar had been nipping at the heels of two-time reigning NBA MVP LeBron James, and finally broke thorough, receiving 119 first-place votes. LeBron, meanwhile, finished second with just six first-place votes. Durant, who averaged 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, is the first player to win both the scoring title and the MVP award in the same season since Allen Iverson during the 2000-01 season. But it wasn’t Durant’s stats that were winning him new admirers; it was the way he modestly and genuinely paid tribute the people in his life who made a difference in his journey to the top. Here are five truths about success that Durant touched on in his memorable speech.

Nobody Succeeds Alone
Durant and his brother were raised by a single mother, Wanda Pratt, in a Washington, D.C., suburb. She worked as a Postal Service mail handler and wanted desperately for her sons to one day have a better life, free of hardship.

“You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP,” Durant said to her.

Success Often Grows Out Of Frustration And Failure
Early on his high school career, Durant grew extremely frustrated with the lack of attention garnered by college coaches and recruiters. At one point, he was seriously debating quitting basketball all together and even considering street life, but said his mother saved him.

“You kept us off the street,” he said. “You put clothes on our backs. You put food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate and [you] went to sleep hungry.”

Individual Success Is Built On Teamwork
Durant expressed gratitude to his Thunder teammates and coaches as well. Perhaps most importantly, he made it a point to mention the talented, but also embattled point guard, Russell Westbrook.

“You got a big piece of this,” he said. “You’re an MVP-caliber player. It’s a blessing to play with you.”

Savoring Success Means Not Always Looking Ahead To The Next Big Thing

Durant will become a free agent in 2016 and he seems content to remain in Oklahoma City. “This is the perfect place for me,” he said.

Healthy Competition Can Aid Success
Over the past three seasons, the league’s MVP award has essentially morphed into a two-man race: Durant and LeBron.

In his speech, Durant paid his rival perhaps the ultimate compliment: “[James] definitely drives me and pushes me to reach [a higher] level as a player.”

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