Daily Sports Smile: Kevin Durant attends celebration for Durant Center's inaugural graduating class

Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant talks to fans during the second half of their game Saturday, February 26, 2022 at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis. The Brooklyn Nets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 126-123. Durant sat out the game.
Victoria Hernandez
USA TODAY Sports+

Kevin Durant's future in Brooklyn may be over, but the future of the students at his Durant Center is bright.

The organization celebrated its inaugural graduation class last week and their star sponsor was in attendance. Durant watched as 51 students graduated the program, headed to schools across the country, in a Launch to College ceremony held at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The four-time scoring champion established the Durant Center in 2019 in partnership with College Track, a national organization that equips students from low-income communities to achieve higher education.

Only 40% of residents in Prince George's County attend college, according to College Track's website. The 12-time All-Star donated $10 million to establish the center in his hometown of Suitland, Maryland.

"Thank you for the hard work you put in for four years and we look forward to four more as you keep going," Durant told the students, according to College Track's Instagram stories.

Durant's mother, Wanda, was also a part of the ceremony and shared words of encouragement.

"Young scholars I just want to say I'm extremely proud of you," she said. "Enjoy being young people. Enjoy changing the trajectory of your families' lives."

There were student speakers as well, including Davvid C., who was given the Scholar Award for Authenticity.

"The biggest lesson I learned these last four years is that knowledge and reflection are key to realizing who I am and who I want to become," he said.

The group posed for a photo with Durant after the festivities with their college shirts, including Bowie State, Morgan State, Towson and Tulane. As the students spread out across the country, they will always be united by the unique time they shared at the Durant Center.