Before this week, I only knew Kevin Durant as a prolific NBA scorer and a star from the movie Thunderstruck (a family movie that my boys love). After watching his MVP speech, I now feel differently.
You may or may not know (or like) Kevin Durant, but your attitude will change if you watch his MVP speech.
1. Vulnerability: He was so raw – he really let his guard down. (No pun intended.) It’s not often you see a 25-year old man cry, let alone a 6’9” NBA player. Don’t be mistaken – it’s not weepy emotion that generates vulnerability. Instead, vulnerability comes from revealing the concrete details, especially the ones that aren’t polished, in an authentic way. Durant used a storyboard of his childhood to put in perspective where he had been and how far he had come. It makes us feel differently about him to know more of his personal story. As leaders we can always be more transparent – even if it leaves us vulnerable.
2. Authenticity: Nothing scripted about it – Durant used his own style, giving the speech from his heart. “Man, I love basketball so much, I love playing it. I just never thought I could make it to college, make it to the NBA or stand up here today.” Such sincerity – I feel like I really got to know him.
3. Humble Confidence: If you only watch the first 10 minutes of the speech, you will see that Durant won over his teammates by thanking each of them by name – and he didn’t stop there. Identifying what it was about their support that helped him succeed, Durant earned his stripes as a leader by increasing buy-in, helping everyone grasp a part of his victory.
If you make it through to the end of his speech, he describes the details of how his mom supported him, “[she would] wake me up in the middle of the nights in the summertimes, making me run up the hill, making me do pushups, screaming at me from the sidelines of my games at 8 or 9 years old,” and he continued, “When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”
Key Takeaway: Durant is known as a great player, but his MVP speech was enough to turn basketball fans (and non-fans) into his personal fans.
How can you use transparency, vulnerability and humble confidence to cultivate your personal fans? At work? At home? In life?