There isn't an NBA fan within 50 miles of the Beltway who hasn't heard of the Seat Pleasant Activity Center and doesn't feel an affinity for -- with all due respect to Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Adrian Dantley and David Robinson, as well as Grant Hill and even Len Bias -- the best player the area has ever produced.
At 23 years old, Durant has led the Thunder to the NBA Finals on the back of symbolic and ruthless takedowns of the Mavericks, Lakers and Spurs. Next month he will take center stage at the Olympics with USA Basketball.
Durant is bigger than Robert Griffin III, who hasn't yet played a down for the Redskins. Bryce Harper is an unstoppable force and could be on the verge of something special in his rookie season with the Nationals, but we won't find out until October. Alex Ovechkin's career with the Capitals is far from over, but he has had his chance. John Wall and the Wizards are still seasons away from contending.
Durant is dominating now, and he is doing so as the polar opposite of LeBron James. While James had "The Decision" on ESPN two summers ago, Durant re-signed with Oklahoma City the minute it was possible and quietly announced it on Twitter.
It may have been an implicit rejection for his D.C. fans, who harbored dreams he would come home to make his name. But don't forget what Durant has tattooed across his back: "Maryland."
Durant will always be part of Washington D.C., no matter where he plays.
- Craig Stouffer