How do you become an MVP? It helps to have amazing statistics. It also doesn’t hurt to be part of a winning team. But I think the truth is more complicated than that. Last week, the NBA named Kevin Durant their MVP for the 2013 – 2014 season. Yes, he had great numbers and his team is in the playoffs, but what makes Kevin a real MVP was revealed in his acceptance speech.

Some are saying Kevin’s speech is one of the greatest sporting speeches of all times. His basketball prowess is featured on the court; his remarks showcased his heart.

In my recent book, The Heart of Leadership, I contend that if your heart’s not right, no one cares about your skills. The heart ultimately determines whether people want to follow a leader or not. Last week, Kevin showed us all why he’s a leader people want to follow.

I believe there are several critical leadership character traits that matter. Kevin modeled several of them during his speech. The attribute he featured most prominently in his comments is the ability to give genuine praise to others. Based on what he said Tuesday, this was not a new idea for Kevin.

Here are a few of the “stats” from Kevin’s speech…

He acknowledged:

  • God
  • His teammates – eleven of them – individually with specific comments about how each one made him a better player or a better person. He gave his teammates the credit for his accomplishments.
  • His family
  • The team’s owner, general manager, coaching staff and support staff
  • His friends – five of them by name
  • The fans – he said, “We always try to do our best for you. We want to win a championship for you.”
  • The writers who voted for him.

And he closed his moving remarks by talking about his mom…

“We weren’t supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the streets. You put clothes on us and food on the table. You went to bed hungry; we didn’t. You sacrificed for us… You’re the real MVP.”

During his comments, and obviously in his daily life, Kevin makes others the hero. His secret is out. He’s the MVP because of how he treats people. Kevin appears to be a leader quick to praise others. The best leaders always do.

Kevin, thanks for being a leader people want to follow![GLS_Shield]

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.