In all too frivolous world of sports, KD is making a real difference with The Durant Center

New facility in superstar’s hometown endeavors to empower underserved students

Karl Buscheck
January 23, 2019 - 4:40 pm

The otherwise unknown proprietor of a small fleet of southeastern car dealerships sent Twitter into a buzz in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

In the wake of the Saints 26-23 loss to the Rams — marred by a late non-call that, in the estimation of many, helped sink the club — the car salesman (and noted New Orleans fan) bankrolled 16 billboards, in and around Atlanta, the site of the upcoming Super Bowl, lambasting the officiating.

“NFL BLEAUX IT!” one read.

The architect of the scheme wouldn’t disclose the sum spent on the signage.

“Worth every penny,” he told Nola.com.

Light Googling indicates that 16 such billboards could cost more than $19,000 for the reported two-week run.

It’s a staggeringly poor use of money — even if this is nothing but a thinly-veiled publicity stunt.

Drumming up attention — for an invented (and inconsequential) injustice — with the goal of spreading it virally via social media, the zeitgeist of 2019.

It’s against this backdrop that the press release, originating from an award-winning New York City public relations firm, landed in the inbox — not 24 hours after the billboards began spreading across Twitter.

In a sports world that is all too frivolous, Kevin Durant is using his platform (and funds) to make a real difference in the community.

After announcing a 10-year, $10 million pledge to College Track — a program that empowers students from underserved communities to graduate from college — last spring, the Warriors star opened The Durant Center, in his hometown of Prince George’s County, Maryland on Wednesday.

Compare that to the billboards. That's a juxtaposition.

“When my foundation partnered with College Track last year, we said from day one we wanted it to live inside a facility we could develop for Prince George’s County,” Durant said in a statement. “The opening of the Durant Center is truly a dream come true for me and my family.”

It’s a dream come true for the community too.

The inaugural class of The Durant Center will feature 69 students, with an eye toward future expansion. The overarching mission will be to increase the number of low-income and first-generation college graduates.

Durant’s charitable contributions have always been plenitudinous. Last year, factoring in his commitment to College Track, Durant pledged $13 million to community causes.

From Steve Kerr to Stephen Curry to Klay Thompson to Draymond Green to DeMarcus Cousins to so many others, Durant is among the constellation of Warriors following in Golden State’s rich tradition of philanthropy and social consciousness.

This latest act, the opening of The Durant Center, is noble.

“We are so grateful to Kevin Durant, his mother Wanda Durant, the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation and the College Track team for their continued investment in Prince George’s County students,” Angela Alsobrooks, Prince George’s County Executive said.

And it's historic. 

“Education is the civil rights movement of our time," Alsobrooks continued. "And The Durant Center will go a long way in creating a positive impact on that movement here in Prince George’s.”

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