By Ben Golliver
As the Thunder eliminated the Spurs from last season's Western Conference finals, Kevin Durant embraced his mother, Wanda Pratt. When the Heat defeated the Thunder in the NBA Finals, Durant choked back tears while in his mother's arms. Win or lose, thick or thin. That's the theme of a new NBA Christmas advertisement dubbed "Family Is BIG" starring mother and son.
Pratt, a courtside fixture at Thunder games throughout Durant's ascension to superstardom, is shown in the black-and-white ad watching a game, raising her arms, cheering and clapping from the crowd as Durant provides the narration.
"It's so surreal, it's a blessing to look around and see all of this," he says. "To be honest, I didn't think I would be here. You were the only one who really believed in me, that I could do it from Day 1, was my mom."
The ad joins an NBA 2012 Christmas lineup that includes Knicks fan Spike Lee reminiscing about Bernard King's 60 points on Christmas Day and a spot released in November featuring five star players bouncing basketballs to the tune of Carol of the Bells.
Durant, who has honored his mother on his signature shoes and included her in a cameo role in his recent Thunderstruck movie, has regularly credited her with helping his development as a player. In a 2011 televised interview, Durant thought back to his childhood. "She woke me up at 12 a.m. to do sit-ups and push-ups," he said. "I would say, 'Ma, I did my workout already.' She would say, 'You've got to do extra. If you want to get to where you want to get to, you've got to do extra.' One day she woke me up, I had to run the hill outside at 12 a.m. It's summertime, it was so hot outside. It had to be 1 or 2 in the morning [when I was done and] I still had to get up early to scrub the floor in the kitchen, do my chores before I could go to the gym. All that helped me to get to this point."