Some mindless talking heads think that Kevin Durant should “shut up and dribble.” Or, more generally, that he should “stick to sports.”
Over the coming years, dozens, and perhaps hundreds of kids in Durant’s hometown are going to be incredibly grateful that the Golden State Warriors star doesn’t stick to sports.
Durant has committed $10 million to College Track, a program whose mission is to “empower students from underserved communities to graduate from college.” He has partnered with public schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where he grew up, to get his initiative up and running.
Durant is dropping a life-ladder called the Durant Center smack in the middle of the Seat Pleasant, Md., area where he grew up. It isn’t an elevator. The 60 students in the initial group must climb the ladder themselves.
But it’s a path.
“I want them to see the world,” Durant said in a phone interview this month. “I want them to see where people are from and see that there are things outside their world. I don’t know exactly or at what pace that they will get it, but there is a world outside that they need to see.”
Durant’s $10 million will go toward facilities and operating expenses. It’ll help build the first east coast branch, or chapter, of College Track in the neighborhood where he grew up.
“College Track recruits students from underserved communities and works continuously with them from the summer before ninth grade through college graduation,” the program’s website explains. “Our ten-year program removes the barriers that prevent students from earning their college degree by providing them with comprehensive academic support, leadership training, financial and college advising, and scholarships. We teach our students the skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond.”
Durant’s millions will, essentially, help the kid that he was 20 years ago – but the ones who don’t have a road to college and subsequent professional opportunities through basketball.
“We didn’t have the resources to get our minds thinking about the next level,” Durant told the Post of his childhood. “I want to do my part, whatever it is. If College Track students want to be the next Steve Jobs or the next influencer or the next tastemakers, they can get there.
“The majority of my friends, we didn’t have households. When your mom’s at work and you don’t have a dad, you’re leaving school, and you need to know what you want at that age. You need somebody to guide you in the right direction. Your mind wanders and you want things, but we don’t know how to achieve them.”
Durant wants to provide that guidance to kids from his hometown.
“Coming back to the neighborhood and showing them the experiences you went through, coming back and showing them what you’ve seen,” he told the Post. “You start the upward cycle.”
Unrelated to the College Track partnership, Durant also won the NBA Cares community assist award for January for other donations and contributions.