Over the night, Durant’s long-time close friend, Cliff Dixon, was murdered in Atlanta, Georgia. Even more tragically, Dixon was shot while celebrating his own birthday.
Durant, who has publicly referred to Dixon as his “adopted brother”, thanked his friend in his famous MVP speech.
How close was Kevin Durant to Cliff Dixon? Durant thanked him during his 2013-14 MVP speech. pic.twitter.com/VxH9GGXuoB— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) March 21, 2019
Words cannot describe what Durant, his family, and all of the friends and family of Dixon are going through in the wake of this senseless tragedy.
The Durant family extends our deepest condolences & prayers to Cliff’s mother, siblings, family & friends. Our family was an extension of his & we shared wonderful memories. His transition is an incredible loss for all of us who loved him, he will be missed dearly #CliffDixon RIP pic.twitter.com/QuIRt0hIIu— Wanda Durant (@MamaDurant) March 21, 2019
Despite the personal loss, Durant intends to play tonight, according to Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Perhaps Durant is wishing to pay a tribute to his friend, or perhaps he simply needs the distraction, or the therapy of getting back on the court. Either way, he’ll be playing with a heavy heart, and hopefully the Oracle Arena crowd will give him the biggest ovation he’s ever had.