Even though it was 3 years ago when Kevin Durant received his MVP award, his acceptance speech, which turned into a tribute to his mother, still resonates with us to this day. During that speech, Durant stated that his dream was to become a recreational league coach, because he never thought he’d make it to college, least of all, the NBA. He continued, that whenever he failed he “got back up”, he went through tough times, but is appreciative of the fact that he is “still standing”. He attributes all of those character building moments to his mother, Wanda Durant. For Durant and his brother to succeed, he credits his mom, “You made us believe, kept us off the streets…You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”
It’s natural for mothers to hold a special spot in their child’s heart, but what makes a superstar athlete want to turn the spotlight over to their mom, during the height of their accomplishments? For Durant, his award ceremony may have brought to memory all of the sacrifices his mother made while raising him. He remembered, “She made sure we ate when she didn’t eat.”
Another prominent sports mother who’s just as well-known as her son, is none other than Shaquille O’Neal’s mother, Lucille O’Neal. The Basketball Hall-of-Famer, 4x NBA Champion, 3X MVP and now high-profile sports commentator, has always publicly given his mother acknowledgement when it came to his success. According to the Memphis Parent, Lucille O’Neal, as a teenage mom realized early on that she needed to take responsibility for raising her son.
As a new mom, Lucille initially she stood on her financially, but then later married Shaquille’s step-father, and according to Lucille they worked together as a family in nurturing and
cultivating Shaq’s natural athletic ability. “He worked so hard to accomplish his goals. I was proud that he never quit. Our job as parents is to get out of the way of our children.” states Lucille. It’s still apparent that no one else holds as much influence on Shaquille, as recently evidenced during a heated Twitter feud between Shaquille O’Neal and JaVon McGee. The Twitter feud seemed to be infinite with no end in sight until Lucille stepped in and told her son to stop. In an admirable display of respect for his mother O’Neal, did just that and the feud has ended… on Twitter, at least.
As we approach Mother’s Day, one of the more heart-wrenching displays of honor was made most recently during the 2017 NFL draft. Takkarist McKinley, a NFL draft pick from UCLA made sure that everyone knew the real reason behind his success. In his tearful proclamation to the woman who sacrifice and raised him, his Grandmother. McKinley dedicated his achievement to her. Although, she died in 2006, it’s no doubt that he brought her with him in spirit to accept his achievement. When his grandmother was on her deathbed he rushed to her side side and promised
to her that he would do his best to make it to a Division One college. After nodding her head in acknowledgement, a half-minute later, his grandmother passed. However, Takk McKinley makes sure she shines in the spotlight with him. Takk explains, about his grandmother’s death, “That was one of the hardest moments of my life. I probably wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you guys if I didn’t make that promise.”