Kevin Durant's MVP Acceptance Speech Was A Breath of Fresh Air
Last week, I watched NBA superstar Kevin Durant meander through a MVP acceptance speech in which he tediously thanked every member of his team and cried so frequently that his speech dragged for nearly a half hour. It was…..absolutely amazing! As somebody who believes male inability to forge our own emotional and social paths causes many interpersonal ills, I found Durant’s speech to be greatly refreshing. I have to claim allies where I can find them and I’m claiming Durant for using his tremendous platform to submit a powerful endorsement of the strength to be oneself. I’m hoping that some of his young male observers who look to him for inspiration to develop a killer jumper might also be inspired to develop the strength to break free of destructive group think.
Dare I say men love the women that raised them, spend much of their time feeling vulnerable, long for the support provided by their male peers, and possess a range of emotions much deeper than that generally displayed. It’s sad that men have become accustomed to societal figures that only reflect a portion of our personhood.
Every time that I push for rappers, comedians, professional athletes and other celebrities to adopt more comprehensive reflections of manhood, I’m strongly reminded that market places don’t support sharp departures from the status quo. Yet, I have not seen Durant and so many others punished for their displays of authenticity. Provided that they do not reveal underlying hate for others, these brief lapses from the male party line often generate upticks in popularity for those with the bravery to release them because they make public figures more accessible. I would think that the common refrain for celebrities to stick with the status quo says more about our fear of exploring new terrain than it does about any tried and true formula for career success. I’ve been saying this for years so you will have to forgive me if I feel vindicated as I watch as the emotional Durant is roundly applauded.
It may be the case that I spend my entire life speaking about manhood and it will not accomplish as much as did a certain thirty minutes from one of our anointed heroes. Kudos to Durant for accepting his literal and symbolic platform. Now if we could only convince him to play for my (and his) home town Wizards.