Many athletes wear their jersey number for a specific reason. That might be their favorite number, or there may be a back story to why they decided to choose that number.
NBA star Kevin Durant has emerged as one of the best players in the league. Durant wore No. 35 from the time he was in high school all the way up to his time with the Golden State Warriors. His reason for wearing that number is special.
Kevin Durant’s path to becoming one of the best in the league
Durant has blossomed into a dominant player in the NBA. A two-time NBA champion and two-time Finals MVP, Durant knows what it takes to win at the highest level. He has improved his game since his rookie season.
At 6-feet-10 Durant can score in multiple ways. It’s not easy for defenders to contest his shots because of his length. Though Durant may not be the strongest, he knows how to use his height and length to his advantage. Durant is also a lockdown defender. He can guard any position and is always willing to guard the opposing team’s best player.
Durant’s NBA career started in 2007 when the Seattle SuperSonics drafted him at No. 2 in the 2007 NBA draft. The forward had a successful rookie campaign as we would be named the Rookie of the Year after averaging 20.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. The NBA world would catch on to the type of player that Durant was and knew he would have a successful career. After his rookie year in Seattle, the team moved to and became the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Durant continued to have success in the league throughout his career. He led the league in scoring four times and was named the MVP of the league in 2014. That season he averaged 32 points per game, which was the most of his career. In his 12 seasons playing in the league, he never averaged less than 20 points in a season. Once he comes back from his injury, he will continue to dominate at a high-level.
Why Durant wore No. 35
Durant wore No. 35 to honor his AAU coach, Charles Craig, who was murdered at the age of 35. AAU is a platform where young basketball players have the opportunity to play against the best of the best and showcase their talents to many college coaches. Durant had a special relationship with Craig. When Durant joined the Brooklyn Nets, he decided to change his number to No. 7.
In a statement from his business, Thirty Five Ventures, Durant explained why he decided to change numbers. “35 was chosen in honor of someone very near and dear to me. I will always honor him and honor the number 35,” Durant said. “But as I start this new chapter in my basketball life, the number I’ll be wearing on my back is the number 7 next time you see me on the floor. One time Brooklyn.”
It wasn’t easy for Durant to switch jersey numbers, but he believed it was time for a change. Durant will never forget his time playing in that jersey number. Fans know Durant from No. 35, what he did wearing that number will never be forgotten.
Durant’s No. 35 will be retired by the Warriors
Durant spent three seasons playing for the Warriors and helped the team win back-to-back championships. Though his time with the Warriors was not long, he left a significant impact on the organization. According to an NBC Sports article, Warriors owner Joe Lacob said that no other player would wear No. 35 for the Warriors, and they plan on having his jersey retired.
When a team retires a player’s jersey, they recognize the impact the play had on the team and the sport. Durant certainly did that when he played for them, and pretty soon, he’ll be able to see his jersey hanging up from the raptures at the Chase Center.