It is unlikely you will hear Kevin Durant talk more than a few minutes without talking about the impact his mother, Wanda Durant, had on his life. From Oklahoma City to Oakland, Wanda has been with her son through it all. Long before Kevin was a superstar athlete, Wanda was a single mother trying to provide for her family.
Wanda raised Kevin and his brother, Tony, as a single mother. While it was not easy, the sacrifice has paid off as her sons have grown up and found success on their own. Wanda’s story has been inspirational to many people through everything from Kevin’s emotional MVP speech to the Lifetime movie made about her life.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Kevin Durant Thanked His Mother in an Emotional MVP Speech
More people became aware of Wanda’s story after Kevin gave an emotional MVP acceptance speech in 2014. While Kevin thanked a number of teammates and people, the most memorable part of the speech came when he spoke about the sacrifice his mother made for their family. The speech became viral as the impact Kevin’s mother played on his life was evident through the emotional speech.
“We wasn’t supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the street. You put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You the real MVP,” Kevin said in his speech.
2. Lifetime Made a Movie Called “The Real MVP: The Wanda Durant Story”
On Mother’s Day 2016, Lifetime released “The Real MVP: The Wanda Durant Story.” The movie was produced by Queen Latifah and the title was taken from Kevin’s speech where he called his mother “the real MVP”.
The movie details Wanda’s life as a single mother raising two children. Cassandra Freeman starred in the film as Wanda. Kevin is played by Daniel Bellomy. The full movie can be watched here on Lifetime’s website.
3. Wanda Worked Two Jobs to Provide for Her Sons
When Kevin was a baby, his father, Tony Pratt, left the family. It left Wanda to provide for two sons as a single mother. The Lifetime movie details the family staying with her mother until she could save up enough money to get their own apartment.
According to ESPN, she worked two jobs to support the family on her own. Her job as a postal worker included night shifts. Kevin has credited his mother for helping him develop the work ethic he needed to make it to the NBA.
4. Wanda Talked Kevin Out of Quitting Basketball
According to ESPN, Kevin thought about quitting basketball multiple times when he was growing up. His mother gave him the choice of making his own decision but there were parameters to the decision. One of the parameters was he would have to wait until the end of the season to quit. She explained the story to ESPN.
“That was a requirement. [My sons] had to do something outside of the home [or] school. There had to be an activity. If it wasn’t going to be basketball, it had to be something. So, once he found out it was piano, he decided he was going to stick with basketball,” Wanda told ESPN.
5. She Also Raised Kevin’s Brother, Tony
Like his brother, Tony enjoyed sports. He played basketball as a scholarship player for Towson. Wanda and Tony can often be found at Warriors games sitting next to each other cheering for Kevin. Wanda’s generosity and sacrifice has rubbed off on her sons. After Kevin made it to the NBA, he bought Tony a new car. Kevin spoke to ESPN about his relationship with his brother.
“We went through so much together that people don’t know about, stuff my mom doesn’t even know about. My mom always told us that in the end, we only have me and him, we only have each other. We’re sort of like the same person,” Kevin told ESPN.