Durant gives foster kids a Christmas surprise
Kevin Durant remembers how his Christmases as a kid always had a
degree of uncertainty of whether there would be presents under the
Now that he’s an NBA All-Star and a multimillionaire, he wants
to make the holidays a little bit brighter for children in
Durant, the NBA’s scoring leader, chose Oklahoma City-based
Citizens Caring for Children as the recipient of his annual
”Kevin’s Christmas” charity event. He surprised about 120 foster
children Saturday with a visit and gifts, including an iPod
shuffle, Thunder-themed Skullcandy headphones and Nike gear.
”I just wanted them to feel special on Christmas,” Durant
said. ”As a kid, you really don’t know the significance of what
Christmas really means except for getting gifts and being joyous
around this time. So, I want them to feel special. Hopefully, this
is something that they’re always going to remember for the rest of
”I’m happy to say I was a part of that.”
Durant also gave the organization a flat-screen television, an
Xbox 360, a Wii and video games that the children can play in their
activity center. It’ll replace a failing 13-inch TV.
”They really are a lot of times forgotten during the
holidays,” said Amy Mitchell, the agency’s executive director.
”We all go home and spend time with our families and they’re
separated from theirs, so it’s so special that they took the time
to do this for these kids.”
After a pizza party and some free time for the kids to shoot
hoops, Durant called each child up individually to hand out a
bookbag filled with gifts that will be among the few received by
some of the children. Citizens Caring for Children also holds a toy
drive to ensure each child gets a gift, but some live in group
homes and don’t have foster families to provide for them.
”All of them are living without their families, so being able
to spend time with somebody like Kevin Durant during the holidays
is so special to them. I think it makes being away from their
families a little bit easier,” Mitchell said. ”It’s still hard.
But to know that somebody like him takes the time out of his
schedule to be with them, to show them that he cares and that
they’re special really means a lot.”
Durant signed a five-year, $85 million contract extension this
summer after becoming the NBA’s youngest scoring champion ever and
leading Oklahoma City to its first playoff appearance. But he
didn’t always have money.
”My mom surprised me and my brother a lot. She’d always say we
weren’t going to have a Christmas because we couldn’t afford it,
but then she would come back and (we would) wake up on Christmas
day with a lot of gifts,” Durant said.
”I had a lot of great Christmases and it’s a blessing to try to
do that and give back to the younger kids.”
Last year, Durant took three young boys on a shopping spree at
the mall and coordinated a ”Giving Tree” event for 100 children
in need. The previous year, he distributed coats, gloves, hats and
other items to about 60 children at an inner-city after-school
During his rookie year in Seattle, he took 26 needy children on
a shopping spree and then took them to dinner.
”I always look forward to it. It’s something new, something
bigger every year that I try to do,” Durant said. ”My mom did a
good job of coordinating everything and coming up with great ideas.
Everything went right as planned, and everything’s perfect right
”I’m excited, I’m happy and hopefully we can continue to just
do this every year and put smiles on kids’ faces.”
The Thunder’s Serge Ibaka and Morris Peterson also held a
charity event Saturday, distributing toys at a pizza party for
about 200 children.
”For us to give back to the less fortunate is obviously a
blessing. … Growing up, I didn’t see NBA players. I didn’t get to
interact with them,” Durant said. ”For me to provide something
that I didn’t have growing up means a lot to me. I’m just happy
I’ve got this opportunity, and I’m having fun.”
In addition to the toy drive, Citizens Caring for Children is
also trying to gather donations of new coats, pajamas and other
clothing in addition to duffel bags that they can distribute to
Those will serve the kids’ everyday needs, now that Durant has
helped out with the holidays.
”Kevin’s the Santa this year,” Mitchell said. ”He’s a very