I am not a big NBA fan, although I did attend Monday night’s Oklahoma City Thunder playoff game, thanks to my 16-year-old son Keaton, who bought me a ticket.
I am becoming a big Kevin Durant fan.
It’s hard to witness Durant’s rare combination of extreme talent and uncommon humility and not be impressed. The latest example came Tuesday when a teary-eyed Durant won his first NBA Most Valuable Player Award and — in a speech for the sports ages — deflected the attention from himself.
Some of the Twitter reactions from my friends:
If you haven't seen @KDTrey5 's MVP acceptance speech-that was stunning. His story. Humility. What a beautiful role model for my children.
— Josh Graves (@joshgraves) May 7, 2014
Finally getting to watch video of @KDTrey5 speech at MVP ceremony today. Wow. This is the stuff of sports legend. Just amazing.
— Steve's OKC Central (@stevelackmeyer) May 7, 2014
No way to be anything but encouraged once you listen to @KDTrey5 MVP speech! True class and sportsmanship. Need more athletes like KD!
— ABaker (@BeAnEncourager) May 7, 2014
My own reaction:
— Bobby Ross Jr. (@bobbyross) May 7, 2014
And yes, one friend made a specific request for this GetReligion critique:
@bobbyross How about a get religion breakdown on Kevin Durant's acceptance speech or at least the coverage of it.
— Kevin Gordon (@kgordonflash) May 7, 2014
My friend obviously noticed that Durant began — and ended — his speech by thanking God:
First off, I’d like to thank God for changing my life. (He) let me realize really what life is all about. Basketball is just a platform in order for me to inspire people, and I realize that.
At the end:
I’d just like to thank God again. You’re the first and the last. Alpha and Omega. I thank you for saving my life.
In between, Durant made a third reference to God when talking about Tony Weaver, the Thunder’s vice president and assistant general manager:
God directed our paths to work together, and it’s been everything and more.
Also in the speech:
Dad, it’s been an up-and-down road for all of us, but you’ve always been there supporting from afar, texting me Bible verses every single day. Telling me you love me every single day. That builds me up, and I thank you so much.
So God made Durant’s speech, but did God make the media reports on the speech? Not so much.