AUSTIN, Texas – Former University of Texas star and 2007 consensus National Player of the Year Kevin Durant is donating $3 million to UT to support Texas Basketball and the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation. Durant’s donation is the largest outright gift by a former Texas Basketball student-athlete in school history and among the largest gifts ever by any professional athlete to his alma mater.
In honor of the contribution, of which $2.5 million will go to Texas Basketball, the main entrance to Denton A. Cooley Pavilion will be named The Kevin Durant Texas Basketball Center. In addition, the men’s basketball facilities will be named The Kevin Durant Basketball Facility for Men.
“My time as a Longhorn helped build the foundation for who I am today as a player and a person, and the UT team will always be my family,” said Durant. “It’s important to me to continue to give back to The University and ensure that future student-athletes have all the opportunities they need to succeed. It’s an honor to have such a close and unique relationship with Texas Basketball, and I’m grateful to be able to contribute.”
Durant’s gift has already funded substantial facility improvements in Cooley Pavilion, highlighted by the renovation of the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms, resurfacing of both the men’s and women’s basketball practice courts, installation of graphics in the men’s practice areas, audio improvements and the creation of formal office space in Cooley Pavilion.
“Kevin Durant is one of the greatest basketball players in the world, and he is also a Longhorn,” said UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves. “As an NBA All-Star, as a gold medalist, as an NBA MVP and now, as an NBA Champion, KD has always had a powerful connection to The University of Texas. I am grateful for his generosity and investment in the future of UT’s student-athletes.”
UT’s Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation (CSLi) will receive $500,000 from Durant. CSLi launched three years ago with a mission to cultivate the character development, leadership skills and long-term welfare of athletes and coaches. Daron K. Roberts, a former NFL and college coach, serves as founding director of CSLi, which is the first university-based institute dedicated to developing leadership and character curricula for high school and collegiate athletes.
During the 2006-07 season, Durant led the Longhorns, one of the youngest teams in the nation, to a 25-10 mark and the NCAA Tournament Round of 32. He earned consensus National Player of the Year honors, becoming the first freshman in NCAA history to win any of the major National Player of the Year awards. A consensus first-team All-American, Durant was just the third freshman in NCAA history to earn that accolade, joining Wayman Tisdale of Oklahoma in 1983 and Chris Jackson of LSU in 1989.
“Kevin Durant has an incredibly strong and personal connection with not only our basketball program, but The University of Texas as a whole. Each time I’ve had the opportunity to visit with Kevin, I’ve been impressed with his genuine appreciation for his time, growth and development at Texas,” Texas Men’s Basketball head coach Shaka Smart said. “This gift means a great deal to our entire University, but it’s more of a reflection of how meaningful the relationships that Kevin built while at Texas remain true to this day.”
Since his time on the Forty Acres, Durant’s accolades continue to accumulate. An eight-time NBA All-Star, Durant has earned All-NBA First Team honors five times while amassing four NBA scoring titles. He was the 2008 NBA Rookie of the Year, 2012 NBA All-Star Game MVP, 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player and the 2017 NBA Finals MVP while leading the Golden State Warriors to the 2017 NBA Championship. On the Forty Acres, Durant was honored with the 2016 Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award.
“We are so lucky to have Kevin Durant as not only one of our all-time greats and a supporter of our program, but also as an awesome ambassador for The University of Texas,” said UT Vice President/Director of Athletics Chris Del Conte. “I’ve had great respect and admiration for him from afar for years, but now seeing firsthand the impact he has on this campus and within our athletics department, it’s truly amazing. He is a special person who clearly has a great passion and love for the Longhorns, and we appreciate him so much.”