Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant won the NBA's MVP award Tuesday night, in a powerful and emotional speech that's earning the basketball star even more praise for not just his performance on the court, but also behind the microphone.
He began the 20-minute speech by talking about his childhood in Prince George's County, a Maryland suburb just outside of Washington D.C.
"Me, my mom, my brother -- we moved so many different places growing up, and it felt like a box, it felt like there was no getting out," he said. He talked about his childhood dream, when his sights weren't nearly as high as the NBA. He wanted to be a local coach, to help the kids.
"I've been through the toughest times with my family, but I'm still standing," he said, his voice starting to crack.
His tribute quickly turned to his teammates, as he tearfully thanked player after player, and coaches too, for supporting him along the way, caring for him and having his back when he faced tough times. He thanked the fans in Oklahoma for all their support, even when the team loses.
But some of his most touching moments came at the end as he thanked his mother, choking back tears.
“I don't think you know what you did," he said. "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, we moved from apartment to apartment by ourselves," he said. "One my best memories I have is when we moved into our first apartment. No bed, no furniture, we all just sat in the living room and just hugged each other, because we thought we made it."
"You wake me up in the middle of the night in the summertimes, making me run up a hill, making me do push-ups, screaming at me from the sidelines of my games at eight or nine years old," he continued. "We wasn't supposed to be here. You made us believe, you kept us off the street, put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”
Watch the video below (start at 23:30 to see his tribute to his mom).