Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant was named the 2013-14 NBA Most Valuable Player.
"To those in Oklahoma City and all over the world, the impact Kevin Durant has on the court for the Thunder has always been viewed as immense. This season, the NBA officially recognized in the strongest way that it can, by presenting him with its most prestigious award.
"The five-time NBA All-Star, four-time All-NBA First Team selection and four-time NBA scoring champion has another, even more significant accolade to add to his collection -- NBA MVP.
"The NBA voters were emphatic in their selection of Durant as MVP, as the Thunder forward garnered 119 of the 124 possible first-place votes.
"In 2013-14, Durant was the most consistent, effective player in the NBA by working relentlessly on both ends of the court to improve his game, not just from last season, but even during the year as he led the Thunder to a 59-23 regular-season mark, the second-best record in the NBA.
"This MVP award for Durant has been years in the making, as he has been a part of every minute of the Thunder's existence as a franchise. '
"All of the work that he put in from the moment he entered the league through the Thunder's current playoff run has coalesced to not only help shape the player that he is today, but also set the internal standards for the Thunder organization on and off the court.
"'To have someone like that in our organization, but also in our community is a great, great feeling,' Thunder general manager (Sam) Presti said of Durant. 'It's certainly not something to be taken for granted.'"
Miami Heat forward LeBron James wound up second with six first-place votes. Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah and Houston Rockets guard James Harden rounded up the top five, per Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK.com.
Mayberry stresses Durant finally ended a string of three runner-up finishes in the MVP race, winning the coveted award for the very first time.
Durant was understandably emotional during the awarding ceremony, according to ESPN.
"An emotional Durant thanked everyone from his teammates to his mother, Wanda Pratt, at a ceremony in Edmond, Okla., on Tuesday.
"'You made us believe, you kept us off the streets, put clothes on our backs, put food on the table,' a teary-eyed Durant said to his mother, who was in attendance. 'You the real MVP.'
"Durant also thanked veteran forward Caron Butler, who shortly after signing with the Thunder on March 1 placed a note in Durant's locker that read,'KD MVP.'
"'I don't really say much in those moments, but I remember that,' Durant said. 'I go home and I think about that stuff, man. When you got people behind you, you can do whatever.'"
James, himself a four-time MVP award winner, thought Durant deserved it, per ESPN.
"He deserved it, for sure. It's big-time on is part. His maturity level went up every single season both on and off the floor.
"Every guy is different. I can't comment on what I went through (compared to Durant) and the expectations that came with it. Everybody's different. Everybody's journey is different. I can only talk about my experience."
Thunder center Serge Ibaka told Gallo he thought Durant's leadership made a significant impact on the team this season.
"It's his leadership. I was it when Russell (Westbrook) was out. He was able to keep the team up. Not only on offense, but he's been getting better on defense, too.
"He's been rebounding the ball, he's been passing the ball really well in the regular season. That type of stuff made him a different player this season."
For his part, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks lauded Durant's versatility and consistency, per the Thunder's official website.
"He is self-motivated. He's a tremendous kid that does everything for his team and for his organization. We are proud of him because he gives everything he has.
"He does it every night and his consistency is remarkable."
Durant had career-high averages of 32 points and 5.5 assists to go along with 7.4 rebounds during the 2013-14 NBA season, per News9.com's Ryan Stewart.