Kevin Durant has come a long way. What seems like a lifetime ago, the lanky swingman was considered to be the top prospect going into the 2007 NBA Draft, but questions lingered about his size. Some worried that he wasn’t strong enough to take the beating of an 82-game season. The Portland Trail Blazers selected Greg Oden with the first overall pick, passing on Durant.
In his seven seasons in the league since, Durant has won four scoring titles, received five NBA All-Star selections, five All-NBA First Team nods, become the youngest ever to be inducted into the coveted 50-40-90 club and most recently took home regular season MVP honors. As you can imagine, there hasn’t been much debate about Durant’s size as of late.
So how does an athlete of Durant’s unimposing stature power himself to those astronomical heights of basketball greatness? Progress. Since entering the professional ranks, Durant has developed his game right along with his mental approach to training and his nutritional habits.
“I’m more aware of what I’m doing and what areas I need to develop,” says Durant. “Instead of just doing the workouts, I’m aware of my body, and what I eat has been a big part. I try to eat foods that are naturally higher in protein to give me energy and help me recover from my workouts faster.”
With unconventional training techniques like yoga becoming more popular in professional sports, it’s no surprise to hear that Durant also likes to focus on breathing exercises to help him stay mentally focused. The goal is always a championship, and anything that can give the D.C. native an edge on the opposition is well worth the time. That means more physical and mental awareness, stocking his fridge with healthy food and following a meticulous plan to give himself the ability “to play longer and faster on the court.”
Protein: Before he slips on his size 17 Nikes for a 48-minute showdown, Durant fuels himself with a light pregame meal, which usually consists of “fish and vegetables.” But after a grueling battle on the court, he’ll go for something more rewarding like “steak or chicken and rice.” When discussing his diet, the resounding theme is that protein plays a major role, in any form. “I eat protein bars before [and] in between workouts and games. I need the extra protein to keep my energy up, but I like to go for the most natural ones I can,” says Durant, explaining that his go-to selections are the all-natural STRONG & KIND bars, a brand he also endorses.
Natural Foods: Promoting the fastest recovery time after grueling workouts and taxing games is a top priority for the 25-year-old star, and his approach to nutrition is just as methodical as his game on the hardwood. Protein is a major factor for Durant, but other natural foods are just as important, “I eat a lot of oatmeal and fruit and drink a lot of water. I try to cleanse my body out because it gives me energy and makes me feel stronger.”
Candy: Everyone has their vices, and the leader of the Oklahoma City Thunder is no different. When asked about the kinds of foods he just can’t help but get his hands on, Durant responds, “Candy! And just snacks in general.” He then goes on to list his candy lineup, which includes Twizzlers, honey buns and Oreos.