St. John’s basketball players, Rick Pitino in awe of Kevin Durant’s attendance

Kevin Durant watched the St. John's basketball team (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
Kevin Durant watched the St. John's basketball team (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images) /

Kevin Durant made the trip to Queens to watch the St. John’s basketball team. 

There was a commotion in the tunnel moments before tipoff of Saturday night’s St. John’s basketball game.

A 6-foot-10 man made his way onto the floor at Carnesecca Arena and took a seat courtside.

It was Kevin Durant.

The 13-time NBA All-Star sat next to his longtime manager, Rich Kleiman, and St. John’s general manager Matt Abdelmassih during the first half of the Red Storm’s 91-45 victory over Holy Cross.

Durant’s Phoenix Suns had an off-day in the city ahead of its Sunday evening matchup with the New York Knicks, although the former Brooklyn Net did not play due to foot soreness.

“It means a lot,” Johnnie freshman Simeon Wilcher said of the two-time NBA Champion being at the game.

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“KD has been my favorite player since I have been watching basketball…It’s an honor for him to come to one of our games.”

Durant saw the Red Storm firing on all cylinders after a sluggish start as Wilcher turned in one of his best performance in his young career with five points, three rebounds, and five assists.

“It’s like an inspiration,” St. John’s sophomore RJ Luis, who made his season debut against the Crusaders, explained.

“He’s playing where we are trying to get to at the next level.”

St. John’s basketball head coach raves about superstar’s abilities

Rick Pitino has been around many outstanding basketball players in his career but Kevin Durant stands out above the rest in his mind.

“I think it’s a great honor for St. John’s,” Pitino said of Durant’s attendance.

“Kevin has a lot to do, a lot of people he knows in New York.”

St. John’s announced a partnership with Boardroom, a sports business media network founded by Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman, in March 2022 that allowed its athletes to benefit off of Name, Image, and Likeness.

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Durant was rumored to attend a Red Storm game last season but an injury prevented him from traveling to Queens.

Kleiman, a native New Yorker, has been a St. John’s fan for the majority of his life.

“He’s one of the great players in the history of the game,” the Hall of Fame coach added.

Kevin Durant, in his one season at Texas, played against St. John’s in 2006 at Madison Square Garden in which he went for 29 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks in a 77-76 victory for the Longhorns.

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