Mother’s Day with Wanda Durant

Mother’s Day with Wanda Durant

In celebration of Mother’s Day we spoke with Wanda Durant, aka Mama Durant and mother of NBA icon Kevin, on motherhood and her inspirational work for the motivational platform she founded, HDBA (Hope, Dream, Believe and Achieve). Shot on location at Eaton Workshop, read and enjoy our exclusive and heart-warming interview with Wanda, below:

What is one of your favorite childhood memories with your son Kevin?
Before Kevin started playing basketball, he played football and was one of the tallest kids on the field. As a result he played the central position (even though he should have been a quarterback or running back). During one particular practice, the coach tasked the other players to try and knock him down during a tackle, and one of the players succeeded. Afterwards during the car ride home, Kevin admitted that he could have stood the tackle, but didn’t want the other players to jump onto and crush his smaller teammate. That really showed his heart for other people, which is something I will never forget, because his character truly started to shine through as a person from that moment on.

You describe motherhood as ‘your most precious role.’ Can you share a little bit about what makes it so special, and how your interpretation has evolved as your two sons have grown up.
I always tell my children that they are the greatest joys in my life. I believe that God entrusted me enough to guide them through life, so they could each carry out their purpose. It’s a huge responsibility for not only them, but also for me. I had my son Tony at 17, and I didn’t know what to do with my life or even which direction I should go at the time. Turns out, my children were my saving grace, which is why I’m so grateful for them. They helped me start living – at first I was living for them, and then as they grew into adults, they helped me to live for myself because of the lessons I had instilled in them. And now I have another joy in my life, my grandson. The legacy continues!

 You’re known for encouraging underprivileged children and single mothers to overcome their situational challenges.  What are some of your inspiration methods?
The inspiration and methodology differs depending on who I am speaking to. My first step is to share my story as a single mother, thus building a connection with the audience, which in turn allows them to begin to open up to me about some of the experiences and circumstances they are dealing with. I talk about my mindset and thought processes and how those ideas have evolved and developed based on my personal experiences – I had to be different. Generally I like to promote setting requirements for your children, being present, engaging and interacting with both them and their teachers. I think it’s incredibly important to be an ally regarding your child’s education, by supporting their extracurricular activities in meaningful ways such as participating or volunteering, being well-versed in the sports or hobbies they are interested in pursuing, and setting overall expectations for their well-being.

It’s also incredibly important to be open with them as they grow older. I like to share some of the pitfalls I encountered as a parent. I think there is a definable blueprint to parenting, which derives from other parents’ collective experiences and learnings. If you can tweak some of the failures from others to learn and inspire, then you’re doing something right.

Please give us some background on your motivational platform HDBA (Hope, Dream, Believe and Achieve), and how did you get it started?
It all started during the NBA blackout two years ago. They held celebrity basketball games where NBA players would travel to different cities to play. Kevin played a game in Oklahoma but didn’t want to keep any of his winnings, so he donated the entire $100k he made to the Single Parents Network. They were extremely thankful and asked him to speak at an awards ceremony, but he suggested I give the speech because I am a single mom. I reluctantly agreed and only spoke for about ten minutes. But after the event, many women from the audience came up to me to share their stories, which I welcomed. It was in that moment that I realized I had a purpose in life to share my experiences to help others realize their full potential, all by building a support network for them.

My mantra is Hope, Dream, Believe and Achieve. Once you’re aware that you have hope, then you can understand what it is. Then you begin to dream, as if a light turns on, and you start to see life in color. And I encouraged them to visualize what they wanted to acquire in different areas of their lives. You have to believe you can achieve success by taking the necessary steps and putting in the hard work.

What are your plans for this Mother’s Day, and does the Durant family have any Mother’s Day traditions?
My plan for this Mother’s Day is to spend it with my own mother and my grandson – it’s his first! I love to spend all of his ‘firsts’ with him, so that he will have photographic memories for us all to cherish that include his grandmother and great-grandmother. We are very intentional about spending time together on Mother’s Day and this year will be no different.

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