Wednesday, May 25, 2016
SI - "Thunder Road: How long before Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City reign?"
" “I think of myself as a small-town kid,” Durant says. “I liked the small-town vibe. But it was a ghost town. The downtown wasn’t really a downtown. I don’t remember a single tall building. Now I look at that building and it’s a beacon, reminding me what we came from.”
KD and Russ, rocking leather backpacks and then lensless frames, showed brand managers from L.A. to New York that talent sparkles anywhere. A global celebrity can rise from the bottom of the Dust Bowl.
Our world revolves around championships,” Durant says. “Who won the championship? Who will win the championship? If you’re not the champion, you’re a loser. If you’re not first, you’re last. Don’t get me wrong, I want to win a championship more than anybody, but if you go through the journey we’ve gone through, you can also appreciate other things.” Like the skyscraper, completed nearly four years ago, towering outside his window.
“But it’s not just that,” Durant continues. “I drive through downtown, through midtown, through the Asian district and see so many different businesses, so many different people. It’s a big, diverse city that’s grown with the team.” The impact of sports franchises on urban renewal is often overstated, but in Oklahoma City it’s obvious. “The Thunder has given us a worldwide brand we’ve never had before,” says the mayor, Mick Cornett, citing the area’s strong corporate recruitment and staggering influx of millennials. “The exposure has been immeasurable. You tell somebody in another country you’re from Oklahoma City, and they say, ‘Kevin Durant.’”"