Kevin Durant Gives $3 Million to UT Austin

Kevin Durant, named 2007 Naismith College Player of the Year after his lone year at Texas, will donate $3 million to the university. The majority of the donation—$2.5 million—is earmarked for the basketball program, which will name the entrance to the Denton Cooley Pavilion The Kevin Durant Texas Basketball Center and the men’s basketball facilities The Kevin Durant Basketball Facility for Men.

The gift is the largest outright donation by a Texas basketball student-athlete in UT history and, according to Texas Athletics, one of the largest by a a professional athlete to his alma mater.

“My time as a Longhorn helped build the foundation for who I am today as a player and a person, and the UT team will always be my family,” Durant said, in a statement released by Texas Athletics. “It’s important to me to continue to give back to the university and ensure that future student-athletes have all the opportunities they need to succeed. It’s an honor to have such a close and unique relationship with Texas basketball, and I’m grateful to be able to contribute.”

The balance of the eight time All-Star’s gift will go to the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation. Founded in 2014 by Daron Roberts, BA ’01, Life Member, the CSLi’s stated mission is to “leverage the university’s academic and sports capital to cultivate leadership and character reform among student-athletes across the country.” In October 2016, Durant returned to campus to receive the Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award, and participated in a discussion with Roberts at a CSLi event.

In his only season at Texas, Durant became the only freshman to ever win a National Player of the Year award, leading Texas to a 25-10 record and an NCAA Tournament berth. Selected second overall by the Seattle Supersonics, Durant became a star player for the team after its move to Oklahoma City the following year. He was named NBA MVP following the 2013-14 season, and won his first NBA championship in his first season with the Golden State Warriors this spring. Across five finals games, Durant averaged 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.6 blocks en route to being named series MVP.

Durant has maintained strong ties to the Texas program in the last decade. In June, Texas men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart called Durant “really influential for us.”

“Kevin Durant has an incredibly strong and personal connection with not only our basketball program, but The University of Texas as a whole. Each time I’ve had the opportunity to visit with Kevin, I’ve been impressed with his genuine appreciation for his time, growth and development at Texas,” Smart said, in the same statement. “This gift means a great deal to our entire university, but it’s more of a reflection of how meaningful the relationships that Kevin built while at Texas remain true to this day.”

UT President Greg Fenves and new Athletics Director Chris Del Conte also praised Durant’s donation, with Fenves calling out his “generosity and investment in the future of UT’s student-athletes” and the AD calling Durant an “awesome ambassador.”

“He is a special person,” Del Conte concluded, “who clearly has a great passion and love for the Longhorns, and we appreciate him so much.”

Photo of Durant at the CSLi talk in October 2016 by Emily Johnson.

 

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