Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant is donating $3 million to his alma mater University of Texas at Austin. The former Texas star player’s donation is the largest gift by any Texas Basketball alum in UT’s history, according to a press release from the school. The money will support Texas Basketball and the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation.
"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. "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."
Durant played for Texas during the 2006-2007 season, leading the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament Round of 32. That year he also earned 10 nationally recognized awards including the Naismith College Player of the Year Award, the Wooden Award, and the Rupp Trophy, becoming the first freshman in history to win any of those NCAA player of the year awards. "Kevin Durant is one of the greatest basketball players in the world, and he is also a Longhorn," UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves said. “As an NBA All-Star, as a gold medalist, as an NBA MVP and now, as an NBA Champion, KD has always had a powerful connection to The University of Texas.”
After leaving the “Forty-acres,” Durant became the 2008 NBA Rookie of the Year, 2012 NBA All-Star Game MVP, 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player, the 2017 NBA Finals MVP, as well as an eight-time All-Star. Still after only one season at Texas, Durant continues to be one of the school’s most involved alums. In December, Durant gifted the Longhorn football team sneakers for its Texas Bowl game against Missouri. Perhaps he’s competing with Matthew McConaughey, Wes Anderson, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson to become the most loved UT alum.
To show its appreciation for Durant’s donation, UT is naming the entrance to Denton A. Cooley Pavilion the Kevin Durant Texas Basketball Center, and the men’s basketball facilities will be named the Kevin Durant Basketball Facility for Men. “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,” Longhorn head coach Shaka Smart said. “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.”