Last night, as his family, coaches, teammates, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and a bunch of other old, rich, white dudes watched on, Kevin Durant – who has lived in this state for seven years – was named to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, which is something we now know exists.
According to The Oklahoman, being inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame is a very big deal. Jenni Carlson couldn't be happier. She claims no one has raised our state’s profile higher than Kevin Durant. That's pretty cool if you enjoy time-killing small talk with Uber drivers in other cities. Anthony Slater wrote a feature-length opus about the induction ceremony. It's nice. Berry Tramel is even working on a list of the 100 greatest Oklahoma Hall of Fame members to run on Sunday. As I said, it's a big deal.
KD was introduced by his BFF Russell Westbrook. I assume Russ will be named to the Hall of Fame next year when he's on the verge of becoming a free agent.
Here's the text of Kevin's acceptance speech. It was the golly shucks, PR pro KD we've all come to know and love:
"I appreciate it, all the kind words. I'll tell you a story. When I first got the call (the franchise was moving to Oklahoma), I was actually on the University of Texas. To come here and to live in Oklahoma, I didn't know what to think. When I came here, I got to the airport and there was nobody there. Then I went to the hotel and there was nobody in the streets. Then I stayed in the Skirvin and I heard it was haunted. So I said, that's a rough start. But as time went on, I started to realize the core values of Oklahomans. Hard work, resiliency, humility. It made me a better man and it made me a better basketball player. I can't do anything but thank everybody who I've come across who's supported me, through good and bad. Through the great games and through the bad games. Teammates, coaches, everyone in the organization. I wish I could take full credit for it, but I can't. Without everybody, I don't think I'd be up here. I love you, mom, my brothers, my whole family. My last stage I had all the people up here, but this stage couldn't fit everyone in Oklahoma. So I appreciate the love you show my family and I and this is truly amazing. A kid from Maryland going into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Dreams really do come true. I appreciate everybody. Thanks a lot. And hopefully we'll be here next year for Russell Westbrook's induction."
Isn't Kevin Durant awesome? Sometimes I think we forget how lucky we are to have a guy like that be the face of our state and community. He's professional, personable, selfless and nice. Sometimes I'm not sure if it's all just an act. But if it is, who cares? He's an amazing human. Even though he's not from here and really didn't choose to live here, I'm proud to see him go into our state's Hall of Fame. He totally deserves it. KD, you're the real MVP!
That being said...
What exactly does it take to kick someone out of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame? I'm just curious. But seriously, is there some rule or provision that lets you expel someone if they break the state's collective hearts by betraying everyone and moving elsewhere before winning a title? Let's be honest--it seems like it would be a good rule to have.... just in case something bad happens.