Kevin Durant Thanks God, Declares Mom ‘The Real MVP’

Penny Starr
By Penny Starr | May 7, 2014 | 4:49 PM EDT

Kevin Durant Wins NBA MVP. (AP)

Mother’s Day came early for me on Wednesday when I opened an email from my son.

“This is why I'm a huge KD fan,” he wrote. “Definition of class and similar situation to us.

“And now because of what mom did we aren't doing too shabby, eh?”

The rest of the email was a link to a video of Kevin Durant speaking on Tuesday about being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

I already had a lump in my throat before I even clicked on the link, thinking about the good times and tough times I had as a single mom raising two sons who lived and breathed sports.

My younger son, Paul – who, like KD, is 25 – sent the email and cc’d his older brother, Zach.

“First off, I’d like to thank God for changing my life,” Durant said. “It let me really realize what life is all about.”

“Basketball is just a platform in order for me to inspire people and I realize that,” said Durant, who won in a landslide 119-out-of-125 vote by sports writers and broadcasters.

My sons also played basketball, but we spent most of our game time on the soccer field or a cross-country course, from elementary school through college.

And even if KD is a super star, his journey seems familiar, from relying on God to see you through hard times to the joy a mother feels when her sons’ dreams come true.

KD began his more than 25-minute speech by thanking God. He went on to thank his teammates, coaches, friends and his older and younger brothers.

He ended it by thanking the woman who he gave the credit for putting him behind that podium holding the coveted Maurice Podoloff trophy.

“I don’t think you know what you did,” Durant said to his mother, Wanda Pratt. “You had my brother when you were 18 years old.”

“Three years later, I came out,” Durant said. “The odds were stacked against us -- a single parent with two boys by the time you were 21 years old.”

“Everybody told us we weren’t supposed to be here,” Durant said. “We went from apartment to apartment by ourselves.”

“One of the best memories I have is when we moved into our first apartment,” Durant said. “No bed, no furniture. And we just all sat in the living room and just hugged each other.”

“We thought we made it,” Durant said.

“When something good happens to you – I don’t know about you guys -- but I tend to look back to what brought me here,” Durant said. “And you wake me up in the middle of the night in the summertimes; making me run up a hill.”

“Making me do push-ups,” Durant said. “Screaming at me from the sidelines of my games at 8 or 9 years old.

“We weren’t supposed to be here,” Durant said. “You made us believe. You kept us off the street. Put clothes on our backs. Food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate.”

“You went to sleep hungry,” Durant said. “You sacrificed for us.”

“You’re the real MVP,” Durant said.

My sons aren’t professional athletes, but they own their own film company that specializes in producing elite athletic productions. They work hard. They are happy. They are successful.

So Mother’s Day came early for me and it had nothing to do with flowers, candy or a greeting card. It came in a much sweeter message imparted in a simple email: Motherhood – especially as a single parent – can be the most challenging job in the world.

But sometimes, if you work hard and sacrifice, the race can be won.