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Kevin Durant is enjoying ‘big city’ life in San Francisco — The Undefeated

Kevin Durant is enjoying ‘big city’ life in San Francisco — The Undefeated

The Golden State Warriors are enjoying their 47th and last season at Oracle Area in Oakland, California. Subsequent season, they may transfer eight miles throughout the Bay Bridge to San Francisco, transitioning from one of the crucial intimidating locations for opponents to play to a complicated venue off the ocean in the Mission Bay neighborhood.

Kevin Durant’s free-agent determination looms giant for Golden State. He has made it clear that he doesn’t know what he’ll do subsequent summer time. But when the two-time Finals MVP decides to stick with the Warriors, his commute would truly turn into simpler. Durant’s apartment in San Francisco is not a far drive from the place the brand new area is being constructed.

Actually, KD is the one participant on the present roster dwelling in San Francisco.

“I wanted to be in the big city and mix it up a little bit,” Durant advised The Undefeated. “It’s close to the [Bay] Bridge and the practice facility and arena [in Oakland]. I wanted to try it out. I’ve never lived in a big city before by myself. I wanted to learn more about the flow of the city.”

Durant moved to San Francisco a yr in the past, and regardless of the place he has performed all through his profession, he stated, he has all the time taken curiosity in studying concerning the city’s historical past. The foodie has dined frequently on the trendy Greek restaurant Kokkari Estiatorio in the enterprise district and a famed Italian eatery referred to as North Seashore Restaurant that has been widespread with NBA gamers and coaches for years. He is a member of considered one of San Francisco’s most unique personal golf equipment. And he lives in a high-rise with a view of the Bay Bridge and Pacific Ocean.

“I just like the vibe,” Durant stated. “It’s chill. Enjoyable. There is not an excessive amount of happening, however there is nonetheless rather a lot happening. Individuals are fairly cool, open and numerous.

“San Francisco is one of those cities that is always going to be booming. There is always going to be growth in the city. I guess you can call me a ‘millennial’ living there now. It puts a different perspective on life.”

KD testing his potential new residence subsequent season.

— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) November 9, 2018

One factor Durant stated he first questioned about San Francisco was whether or not it had an African-American presence.

Durant lived in Oakland Hills after signing with the Warriors in the summer time of 2016. Whereas gentrification has made itself recognized in Oakland, the town nonetheless has a inhabitants that is almost 30 % black, has quite a few black companies and has an extended record of well-known African-American musicians, athletes and different celebrities (together with Black Panther director and author Ryan Coogler) hailing from there. It is additionally the house of the Black Panthers.

In 1970, 1 in 7 San Francisco residents was African-American, in response to the San Francisco Chronicle. Now, San Francisco is estimated to have a inhabitants that is 40.7 % white, 34 % Asian and 15.2 % Hispanic, in accordance with Knowledge USA.

The black inhabitants, nevertheless, is simply four.7 % and anticipated to drop.

There are solely two notable black neighborhoods in San Francisco, in the Fillmore District and the Bayview District. The Fillmore District turned predominantly black after Jewish households moved out and Japanese-American households suffered internment and have been relocated in the center a part of the 20th century, in accordance with Make investments SF. In 2014, the Fillmore District had a inhabitants of 25,525 those that was 55 % white and 17 % black.

Lengthy earlier than Durant was born, the Fillmore District was referred to as the “Harlem of the West.” Such jazz legends as John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Vacation, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker carried out at Jimbo’s Bop Metropolis and different venues in the Fillmore District in the 1940s and 1950s. The jazz, rhythm and blues, and hip-hop likes of Branford Marsalis, Erykah Badu, Stanley Clarke, Talib Kweli, Esperanza Spalding, Rakim, Joshua Redman, De La Soul and Roy Hargrove carried out at Yoshi’s on Fillmore Road in the neighborhood earlier than it closed in 2014. Famed writer Maya Angelou as soon as lived in the Fillmore District.

Richard Bougere, who made a reputation for himself by rapping concerning the Fillmore District and San Francisco whereas utilizing the identify “Big Rich” and “Fillmore Rich,” leads a socially lively program together with his spouse, Danielle Banks, referred to as Challenge Degree. It focuses on mentoring at-risk youth in their native San Francisco.

“Something I’ve always been interested no matter where I’ve played is the history and people who came before me.”

Bougere says many blacks have left the Fillmore District.

“It has drastically changed over the last 25 years,” Bougere stated. “Gentrification and gang enhancements have moved 90 percent of the blacks out and allowed landlords to inflate the rent.”

Marcus Books, one of many nation’s first black bookshops, closed in the Fillmore in 2014. A church on Fillmore Road named after John Coltrane closed in 2016. A lounge named after Booker T. Washington and a number of other jazz golf equipment are lengthy gone. An upscale Southern restaurant referred to as 1300 on Fillmore, loved by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Draymond Inexperienced, closed final yr after 10 years. The Fillmore Jazz Preservation District Retailers Affiliation additionally not exists.

Even so, the Fillmore District nonetheless has extra African-People than most different elements of the town.

Then-Warriors teammate Matt Barnes launched Durant to the Fillmore District in 2016 and Durant immediately fell in love with it. Durant was pleasantly stunned when he just lately discovered extra concerning the black historical past of the neighborhood.

“I went to State Bird Provisions and couple restaurants over there. You could tell it was a part of town where a lot of black folks live,” Durant stated. “You could tell that there is a black cultural experience.”

Durant grew up primarily in Seat Nice, Maryland, which is predominantly black. Seeing gentrification firsthand is nothing new for him, as he stated he noticed it in impact when his beloved Washington Redskins moved into FedEx Subject in Landover, Maryland, almost 5 miles from his hometown, in 1997. He stated gentrification labored in a constructive method in phrases of bringing higher companies to a nonetheless predominantly black city. Landover had 17,913 black residents in 2016 they usually have been 77.5 % of the inhabitants.

“I wanted to be in the big city and mix it up a little bit. … I’ve never lived in a big city before by myself.”

“We dealt with gentrification growing up a little bit when the Redskins moved to Maryland,” Durant stated. “They cleaned up the area around the stadium. You kind of knew who that was for. You understand the dynamics of just life when you’re in a major city. So many people want to provide a better lifestyle. I kind of understood what that was about, and I just saw the growth of P.G. [Prince George’s] County, where I’m from. You see that in major cities all of the time.”

Durant moved to Austin, Texas, for his lone season of school basketball on the College of Texas. Throughout his lone season enjoying for the now-defunct Seattle SuperSonics, Durant lived in Mercer Island, Washington, which was related to Seattle by a bridge. He loved the eating places and the downtown life Seattle needed to supply, however the Sonics moved to Oklahoma Metropolis in 2008 and have become the Thunder.

Whereas dwelling in Oklahoma Metropolis, Durant loved the black roots he discovered in the Deep Deuce District, which was the guts of Oklahoma Metropolis’s African-American neighborhood in the 1920s and ’30s. Musicians reminiscent of blues and jazz vocalist Jimmy Dashing and jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, in addition to writer Ralph Waldo Ellison, as soon as lived there.

“Something I’ve always been interested no matter where I’ve played is the history and people who came before me,” stated Durant, who beforehand owned a Southern soul meals restaurant in Oklahoma Metropolis. “When I lived in Oklahoma City, I lived in Deep Deuce, and that was where the black community congregated. Just to know the history of the people that lived in those streets in the city that you live in and play in is pretty cool.”

On Nov. 20, Durant returned to the Fillmore District to make a shock look at a turkey giveaway for needy households hosted by Barnes, Venture Degree and Steezzy Cares on the Fillmore Heritage Middle. San Francisco mayor London Breed and former Warriors star Baron Davis additionally attended.

“There’s many layers to KD than the world sees every night on the court,” Barnes stated. “Being a friend and really getting a chance to see him open is special.”

Durant, who is averaging 29.2 factors, 7.eight rebounds and 6.1 assists per recreation this season, has additionally gotten to know Breed, who is San Francisco’s first black feminine mayor.

“She told me she came from that area and had been giving back to the community for a long, long time,” Durant stated. “Representing the group and being in the place she’s in, I’m positive she is very proud. And I’m positive the group was pleased with her as properly. …

“You know how hard it is for women in general to get those positions? For a black woman to be in that position, it just shows how much work, time and effort she has put in. To see the impact she had on the community was inspiring.”

Breed hung out chatting with Durant on the group occasion and stated she gave him a gross sales pitch in regards to staying in San Francisco to play for the Warriors subsequent season.

“Well, I’m not going to reveal all my persuasion tactics. But, yes,” Breed stated. “I let him understand how a lot we love him in San Francisco and the way all of us sit up for seeing him play right here.


“He and the other players are all really good guys, and the community needs role models like them.”

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The Warriors hope Durant will proceed to make his residence in San Francisco as he would be the league’s most coveted free agent subsequent summer time. The nine-time All-Star was available when the Warriors broke floor on their new area, referred to as the Chase Middle, and in addition just lately obtained an up to date tour of the world on Nov. 9 with group sponsors and the media.

“I’ve been hearing about it for so long,” Durant stated. “Two years ago, I went to the groundbreaking. Now, I just wanted to see how far they’ve come with it. It looks amazing. I just wanted to see it.”

It stays to be seen what the connections Durant has made to the town will imply so far as his NBA future is involved. Within the meantime, he plans to only proceed enjoying life in San Francisco.

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA author for The Undefeated. He used to have the ability to dunk on you, however he hasn’t been capable of in years and his knees nonetheless harm.