As a high schooler, Durant possessed the skills to be a superstar. He earned the 2006 All-Met Player of the Year Award at Montrose Christian after a season at Oak Hill, and was rewarded with a scholarship to the University of Texas.
2 of 24Robert Beck/SI
Chase Budinger and Kevin Durant
Durant shined during the 2006 McDonald's All-American Game, tallying 25 points while splitting MVP honors with Chase Budinger. Here, he takes his triumphant photo with fellow stars John Wooden, Budinger and, of course, Ronald McDonald.
3 of 24Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Durant leads an emboldened Texas squad into the finals of the Big 12 Championship against Kansas in 2007. While Durant dazzled -- he racked up 32 points and nine rebounds -- his Longhorns fell short 90-86.
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Kevin Durant and Candace Parker
Durant poses with Tennessee's Candace Parker after the two were named winners of the 2007 John Wooden Award presented to the most outstanding players in college basketball. During his breakout freshman season, Durant averaged 25.5 points and 11.1 rebounds while leading the Longhorns to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
5 of 24Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Kevin Durant, Michael Conley, Jr., Greg Oden and Joakim Noah
Durant stands among his fellow prospects before the NBA Draft on June 28, 2007. While all were selected in the first round, it's hard to dispute that anyone's had a bigger impact than the former Texas small forward. He finished second in MVP voting in 2009-10.
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Kevin Durant and fans
Durant smiles for the camera with some of his littlest admirers during the NBA's Media Day in 2007. The photo was part of the Sonics' campaign to encourage children to read.
7 of 24John W. McDonough/SI
Durant slips on his jersey before a matchup with the Nuggets in the Pepsi Center in 2007. Much like with LeBron in his rookie season, opposing crowds relished the opportunity to watch the youngster play.
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Kevin Durant and Family
Durant proved he was worthy of the second overall pick during his prodigious 2007 campaign, shooting over 43 percent from the field though Seattle stumbled to a 20-62 record. Here, his entourage (from left to right: grandmother Barbara Davis, friend Cliff Dixon, mother Wanda Pratt, father Wayne) helps him accept the NBA's Rookie of the Year Award.
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Durant endears himself to the Seattle fans after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on Sept. 29, 2007. He immediately became a fan-favorite following his selection in the NBA Draft and posted 20.3 points per game in his rookie season with the Sonics.
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Decked from head to toe in light sensor technology, Durant handles the basketball while EA Sports captures his moves in its Burnaby, British Columbia studio. Durant is compiling quite the video game resume. After serving as the cover athlete for NCAA March Madness '08 , he was placed on the front of NBA Elite 11 . Both are EA Sports titles.
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Embracing their new hometown hero, Oklahoma City Thunder fans greet Durant following an open practice. Formerly the SuperSonics, the franchise moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.
12 of 24Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Durant eyes the hoop in a Team USA basketball tuneup on July 23, 2008 in Las Vegas. While he didn't make that year's Olympic roster, he'd pioneer the so-called "B-Team" to a FIBA World Championship just two years later.
13 of 24Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images
Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Yi Jianlian
Equally helpful on and off the court, Durant volunteers during the Day of Service during the NBA All-Star Weekend in 2008. He was joined by teammate Jeff Green and Bucks' big man Yi Jianlian.
14 of 24Simon Bruty/SI
Kevin Durant's Trophy Case
A legend during his basketball adolescence as well, Durant is honored in this trophy case at Seat Pleasant Activity Center, where he developed as a youth. Team photos, an autographed shoe and a spattering of articles are among the memorabilia honoring the Maryland native.
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Kevin Durant and Jeff Green
Ever the handyman, Durant fixes a chandelier at an Oklahoma City resident's home in April 2009. At 6-foot-9, Durant didn't need a ladder, something that clearly was amusing to teammate Jeff Green (back).
16 of 24Getty Images
Kevin Durant and Lebron James
Two of the new generation of superstars in the NBA, Durant and LeBron James take a picture at the 4th Annual Two Kings Dinner on Feb. 13, 2010. While LeBron generated more hype, it was Durant who led the league in scoring, averaging 30.1 points over an 82-game season.
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Kevin Durant and Presidential Guard
Durant engages in a staring contest with a presidential guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Athens. The guard was able to maintain focus as Durant towered over him, but the Grecian National Team wasn't as lucky. He netted 15 points en route to a 87-59 victory.
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Kevin Durant's Sneaker
Durant's sneakers during the World Basketball Championship served as a reminder of his motivations, as he honored many of his deceased friends by writing their names across his shoe tops. He also included a reference to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by inscribing the date prominently over his left toes.
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Durant leads the United States team in acknowledging the crowd after a 89-74 win over Lithuania in the World Basketball Championship semifinals. Durant would follow up a 38-point performance in this game with a 28-point outing in a victory against Turkey in the gold-medal game.
20 of 24John W. McDonough/SI
Durant celebrates after clinching a victory over Memphis in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
21 of 24Greg Nelson/SI
Durant skies for a breakaway dunk during a Feb. 2012 game between the Thunder and Mavs.
22 of 24Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
Kevin Durant and Wanda Pratt
Durant hugs his mother Wanda Pratt following Oklahoma City's victory over the Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
23 of 24Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Kevin Durant and Lil' Wayne
All-Star MVP Kevin Durant celebrates with hip-hop artist Lil' Wayne during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando.
24 of 24Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
Durant stands with the Western Conference Finals Champions trophy following the Thunder's victory over the Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.
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