Wanda Durant, lovingly known as The Real MVP, is not only the mother of NBA All Star Kevin Durant, she is an inspirational speaker who offered the keynote address at the Support Circle's 33rd Annual Benefit on April 12, 2017. I write about her as we honor our moms on an unofficial national holiday: Mother's Day. Or should we call it "the Real MVP day?!"
Support Circle seeks to offer time, space and support for women— particularly those who face an unintended pregnancy. This pregnancy clinic aims to make "choice" a viable and living option. Too often in our country "choice" means terminating a pregnancy in abortion. What if choice meant that a woman (and a man) understood she would have access to medical and emotional support, personal and professional counseling services, referrals and resources, mentoring, nursing consultants and more. What might she choose? Though Support Circle wants to protect the born and the unborn, of the 170 new clients they served in 2016, only 11 chose abortion. Support Circle remained, for all of these women—regardless of their choice— what it claims to be: inclusive, helpful and open.
Wanda Durant missed the final regular season of the game at Oracle to share her story and her message with over 500 people. Dressed in a magnificent red dress and gorgeous high heels, Ms. Durant admitted that she never thought she would look this good at 50. Her sense of humor and ability to laugh at herself served as leaven for a reality that was once quite grim.
She said, "my father wasn't in my life. I made some bad choices in my teenage years. I wanted to have fun, I wanted acceptance, and I sought attention from a man, because I wasn't getting it at home." Durant shared that those desires explain why she became pregnant at 18, though she grew up in a community of strong Christian values and support."
She added, "when I found out I was pregnant it was scary. I felt so alone. At this point in my life, I had no goals, no dreams. What you need to understand is that my sons saved my life."
Her words elicited a collective gasp and a near moment of silence. As I took in her message, I thought of the narrative that too often surrounds the conversation around "choice." Too often, we consider an abortion to the be right decision because it will save a woman's life, it will keep her job, she can finish college, or sadly, there is no other option. But how often do we think of the choice to keep the the pregnancy as saving the life of those already living. Wow.
Ms. Durant shared many other important insights that she learned in those early years as a single mother. When a nurse consultant through social services told her, "do "x" for yourself and your children will benefit, I laughed," she said. "And then I realized, she was right. When I began to take care of myself, I took better care of my children. But again, I have to give them credit for without them, I don't know if there would have been a 'me' to take care of!"
Durant said it's important to tell anyone with an unplanned pregnancy, "Even though it may look a little dim right now, you never know what the possibilities are. But hold on. If you decide to take the journey of parenthood, you never know what the outcome will be. As long as you continue to work hard and strive hard for your family, things will get better," she said. From what I heard and have read about Ms. Durant, I attribute her fighting spirit, deep faith in God and inner resolve for the real fact that things did get better.
"I remember in the early years, their (AAU) coach might require them to do 25 of a given drill. I stood there and made them do 200 more. At some point, I turned that advice on myself. My sons never had the chance to quit, so I can't and I won't."
When asked what is her favorite moment in Kevin's career, she replied "When he called me the real MVP!" Today, Wanda Durant has trademarked this term, one that she says she must continue to live up to. "My goal is to be more of myself, meaning who I really am.'
"I could have used an organization like Support Circle. They help women discover who they can be. And, that's why I am here tonight."
To the crowd's delight someone in the audience asked Wanda if her son is dating Warriors announcer Rosalyn Gold-Onwude. Every last one of us was given the opportunity to meet her and take a photo together. She had us in tears, in silence, laughing and praying together. "The most important thing to teach your children is that their is a God. God knew I needed my children more than I could have known I would need them. That's our God...loving, generous and wise." Sounds like God is a mother to me.
KD and Ros