Former students face off with NBA star in flag football

Ginger Hervey, Editor-in-chief

A typical intramural flag football game doesn’t draw much of a crowd. But that all changed on Friday, October 28th. The reason: NBA basketball superstar Kevin Durant made a guest appearance for an Oklahoma State fraternity.

It started with a tweet from Durant about wanting to stretch his legs because of the NBA lockout. When a college student from OSU jokingly extended an invitation to his flag football game, he was shocked to find that Durant not only accepted his invitation, but showed up at his house to pick him up a little while later.

As Durant and the OSU student pulled up to the game, six Lovejoy graduates on the opposing team stared disbelievingly as the Oklahoma City rising star forward stepped out onto the field.

“When I first heard that Kevin Durant was on his way to play against us, I was just shocked and didn’t believe it,” 2011 graduate Taylor Lewis said. “But sure enough about 15 minutes later his 6’11 frame was on the field. At that time we were all excited and pumped to play against a future NBA Hall of Famer.”

Durant didn’t seem to find anything strange about showing up to a college flag football game, and played like any other opponent.

“He was just an awesome guy,” 2011 graduate Ticer Havens said. “I gave him some hi-fives, and he was always really open to talk to you.”

Durant even talked trash to some of the players.

“At halftime I went and met him, and he told me to watch out because he was going to pick me off some more,” 2011 graduate Blake Westback said. “I intercepted him once and tackled (pulled his flag) a couple of times, but he just laughed about it.”

Although there was a fair share of trash-talking, Havens and his teammates were impressed with how down to earth Durant was.

“I pointed at him on one play just to let him know that I was coming for him, and he said ‘Bring it white boy!’ with a big smile on his face,” Havens said. “To meet someone as famous as he is, and then to find out that he is genuinely a nice guy is just an awesome feeling.”

The former Lovejoy students held their own in actual game play.

“I picked off his first pass of the game, which was pretty awesome,” Matt Vasquez said. “Him saying ‘nice pick!’ pretty much made my day.”

Durant may have started off slow, but overall the college students were impressed by his football skills.

“He actually wasn’t too bad,” Vasquez said. “We had several interceptions on him, but then again he also had a couple touchdowns on us. He’s just an insane athlete!”

The game was definitely a highlight, not only for the players but also for the community. The story was on ESPN, and the players are enjoying it.

“I feel famous. It is so tight to be on TV,” 2011 graduate Kealyn Oliphant said. “Best experience ever.”

Not only was the news on ESPN, but also made the Yahoo front page and there were several articles written on the odd match-up.

“I’ve never been a part of something that made the news like this,” Lewis said. “It’s been pretty cool to see the 100+ articles written about us, make the front page of Yahoo, and see ourselves on ESPN. I still can’t believe it.”

There is even talk of a follow up game with Durant’s OSU team facing off against LeBron James. Although there is no way to tell if the game will even happen, and if it will involve the Lovejoy students, it was still an experience that the guys will never forget.

“I would have to rate this as one of the top 5 coolest experiences of my life,” Lewis said. “Playing against Kevin Durant in flag football was an amazing experience. It’ll be something I remember for the rest of my life.”