By Dan Campana
He doesn’t have a trademark nickname or go simply by one name.
He doesn’t play on either coast where the media crafts a star.
He doesn’t draw attention from the paparazzi or TMZ.
In just three seasons, he’s been chosen NBA Rookie of the Year, become the youngest scoring champion in league history – averaging 30.1 points per game for Oklahoma City in 2009/10 season – and finished second in MVP voting behind LeBron James last season.
Now, bookend his brief NBA career with a sensational freshman season at Texas that earned him Big 12 Player of the Year honors for the 2006/07 campaign and leading the United States to gold this summer in the FIBA World Championship and it’s easy to see why he’s quickly reached superstar status.
“Putting Team USA on his back and carrying his country to a championship at the Worlds in Turkey in an incredibly hostile environment … all of that has taken Durant to another level,” Marc Stein, longtime NBA analyst for ESPN, said.
“Not just confidence-wise on the floor, but also marketability off the floor. His game and array of achievements at such a young age transcend market size, exposure, all that stuff. He’s simply one of the top five must-see guys in the league right now.”
Durant has also put a jolt into the basketball card market, especially in the southwest, where football usually reigns supreme.