Prince George’s County, Maryland, native and NBA superstar Kevin Durant played his college ball at the University of Texas, but for years as a kid, his family would come to the campus of Bowie State University for youth games and tournaments.
After pledging to help remodel the gym at Maryland’s oldest historically Black university, his mother Wanda was able to help cut the ribbon Thursday on the upgraded facility.
“I saw his signature, his written signature, and then I saw his logo and it brought tears to my eyes,” said Wanda Durant, talking about the graphics that are now part of the floor of Bowie State’s gym.
The Kevin Durant Foundation donated $500,000 to help give the facility a total makeover.
“We’ve been able to upgrade the floor, add in new bleachers, the lighting,” said Bowie State University President Aminta Breaux. “This is huge, to have the Durant Foundation invest in Bowie State at this level.”
Returning to Bowie State brought back a lot of memories, said the woman known affectionately as “Mama” Durant.
“I remember jaw jacking at the refs and telling my son to do more and fussing at the coach because he may have taken him out,” she said with a smile. “Just the family atmosphere,” she added, talking about all the other parents and 9-year-old kids who would be in the gym with them.
“It’s just overwhelming, heartwarming, to know that after all the years and work that my son put in that he gave back, and gave back at home at Bowie State,” she said.
Back then, she said she’d have never guessed “in a million years, never,” that she’d walk back in and see her son’s signature now part of the basketball floor there.
“It signifies that we have great excellence. We’re worthy of an investment of this magnitude,” Breaux said.
Wanda Durant expressed a similar sentiment to everyone who gathered there for the ceremony.
“I would say the best place to donate your money would be to Bowie State,” Wanda said to a round of applause.
In addition, Durant helped launch the Prince George’s County College Track program in partnership with his foundation and Prince George’s County Public Schools, and students who’ve been through that program have gone on to enroll at Bowie State. Players involved with his Team Durant youth basketball program have also landed at the university.
“It’s a lot of connections for us and it will continue to be,” Wanda said. “And so, I’m grateful for that.”