SEAT PLEASANT, Md. — A horde of starry-eyed youths and proud area residents flocked to Oakcrest Elementary School Thursday morning to greet hometown hero Kevin Durant as the NBA champion was honored with the inaugural Kevin Durant Day parade.
In front of a raucous crowd chanting his name seemingly loud enough to be heard from miles away, Durant, flanked by his parents Wanda Durant and Wayne Pratt, was led through the parade route as he clutched his beloved championship trophy.
Durant, who earlier this year helped lift the Golden State Warriors to its second title in the past three seasons, simply said, “it feels good to be home.”
With a fun-loving atmosphere inspired by success and admiration, Durant greeted children and invited some for autographs of shoes and other paraphernalia. As he rode through his old stomping grounds in an elegant Corvette with the top down, it was almost reminiscent of royalty.
Durant’s mother stressed the impact of a parade in her son’s honor in their hometown and the prospects for his future visits to the city.
“It’s rewarding, the parade shows that the hard work has paid off,” she said. “Seat Pleasant is the genesis, Seat Pleasant is where it all began, so we must show appreciation to our town.”
The event was attended by a sea of area youth, as well as several local dignitaries. Durant’s AAU organization, “Team Durant,” which host both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams in the area ranging from ages 8-16, were also there in support.
The 2017 Finals MVP doesn’t come home often as some would like, but not in the eyes of his support group who still have ties to the region.
“He’s not Kevin Durant, he’s not KD — when he’s home, he is Kevin, and that’s what we want people to know,” his mother said. “He’s grateful for the community here and the people should know that.”
As young children wearing Durant’s shoes and jersey chanted his name, one local hoopster hailed the superstar as someone he patterns his game after.
“It’s exciting to be here today,” said Darren Lucas-White of Fairmont Heights High School, who led his team to the Maryland 1A state championship last winter. “He’s from Seat Pleasant and so am I, so we have something in common.”
He also lauded the impact that the newly renovated basketball courts in Seat Pleasant have had on the area.
“The courts have given the city a new energy,” Lucas-White said. “Nobody wants to mess them up, so it’s all positivity in that area.”
The festivities also were scheduled to include a basketball tournament, concert and special guest appearances, but unfortunately did not occur.
Monica Biscoe, a city spokeswoman and vice president of communications for Mayson-Dixon Strategic Consulting, told WPGC (95.5 FM) that the scheduled festival was canceled due to “unforeseen circumstances and scheduling conflicts.”
But that did not interrupt a great time had by the public and Durant himself. As he hoisted the championship trophy, many “SliMVP” shirts flashed through the air in affection for the native superstar, who evidently is always welcome in the city that made him.