Following the deaths of Black men, women, and children at the hands of police this past year, many athletes and celebrities used their platforms to stand in solidarity with demonstrators calling for an overhaul of the law enforcement system.
Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant — while not one of the handful of athletes who chose to wear an “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt to honor slain Staten Island father Eric Garner — was among those vocal about the national eruption of protests and the racial climate of America, saying that he supported the silent protests and wholly believes in standing up for your convictions.
Now, in a candid and eye-opening interview between the 2014 NBA MVP and REVOLT TV, Durant opens up about his upbringing in Prince Georges County, Maryland, the social responsibility of the Black athlete, and how he relates to tragic situations like the death of unarmed teenagers Michael Brown Jr. and Trayvon Martin.
“I can relate to a struggle every single day,” Durant told REVOLT when asked if he feels connected to the deaths of both teenagers. “Being nervous, going out your house some days and not knowing when you might see your family again. It’s tough growing up in that environment.”
He credits the love and strength of his family for keeping him “on the right path,” adding that he feels responsible for being an influential force to his fans and the youth.
“I really want to do my justice and give back to the youth by just letting them know the struggles that I went through and still go through to this day,” Durant said. “It’s hard getting to an elite level of anything, but you can do it…if you continue to put the work in every single day and believe in yourself, have confidence in yourself, you can do anything. That’s the main message.”
But that confidence comes with staying true to yourself and what you believe in, even if it’s unpopular. When discussing the social responsibility of Black athletes and celebrities, Durant said, “for me, it’s more so if I’m talking to kids or anybody, just letting them know what I believe in,” he said, adding that voicing your opinion on social issues via Instagram isn’t enough.
“It’s about really getting out on the streets and doing work. There’s a time and place for you to blast what you believe out to the public. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad because you don’t know how people are going to take it. So I just try to do my job, just letting them know how I feel and what I believe in.”
Check out the entire interview above for Durant’s thoughts on Black History Month, how his recent injuries affected his game, and his run-down of the best ball players out now (and yes, Kobe, Carmelo, and LeBron are included).
SOURCE: REVOLT | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty