On Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant was named NBA MVP for the 2013-2014 season. But it’s his incredible acceptance speech at the ceremony in Edmond, Oklahoma, that is getting all the attention.
The first thing he did was thank God for “changing my life” and revealing to him what life is really about. When the camera focused on the face of his mother in the crowd, she already had tears in her eyes.
Durant then described his life growing up. He said that he and his mom and brother moved to different places constantly. He didn’t sugarcoat the struggles of growing up in a home with a single mother trying to raise two boys on her own.
“It felt like a box,” he said. “It felt like there was no getting out.”
The NBA all-star was emotional throughout his speech, at one point poking fun at himself for crying so much.
Durant later delivered a moving tribute to his mother, Wanda Pratt, who he says was one of the most important influences on him growing up.
“And last, my mom. I don’t think you know what you did,” he began, sniffling and wiping away tears. “You had my brother when you were 18 years old — three years later I came out. The odds were stacked against us; single parent with two boys by the time you were 21 years old. Everybody told us we weren’t supposed to be here.”
As he recounted their trials and triumphs, Durant’s mother couldn’t help but cry — sometimes trying to smile at the same time.
“You made us believe, you kept us off the street, you put clothes on our backs, food on the table,” he added. “You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”
At that line, the crowd erupted in applause and his mom broke down with emotion. She received a standing ovation from the crowd and Durant’s teammates.
Watch the entire speech below (His tribute to his mother starts at around 4:59):