Seat Pleasant was featured in a new national Nike commercial starring NBA star and Seat Pleasant-native Kevin Durant on June 27 — the night of the NBA Draft.
In the commercial, Durant is selected first overall in the Seat Pleasant recreational league draft, ahead of local sparkplug “Anton Barrels” — a fictional character.
The commercial appears to be set in the Seat Pleasant Activity Center on Addison Road, where the Oklahoma City Thunder forward grew up playing basketball, but Nike’s production team actually used images of the Seat Pleasant gymnasium and recreated the scene using special effects, said Ace Heywood, Seat Pleasant Activity Center teen coordinator.
But on Monday, four days after the commercial premiered, Durant appeared at the facility for a charity event. This time, there was no Hollywood magic.
Durant presented $50,000 checks to three Prince George’s County nonprofit organizations: the Seat Pleasant Activity Center, the Maryland Jaguars Youth Organization and the Community Kinship Coalition Inc.
Nike spokesman Brian Strong could not be reached for comment at press time.
Children from the community center said they were happy to see their hometown represented on national television.
“Most of the time Seat Pleasant isn’t really out there. Only a couple of people know about it, so it’s nice for Durant to put it out there,” said Jaala Henry, a freshman at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt.
Dijonta McMillan, a 12-year-old Seat Pleasant resident, said he was excited to see Seat Pleasant recognized in the commercial.
“I think it was nice that he did it, because a lot of people forget where they come from,” said McMillan, who was wearing a Durant shirt.
Heywood said the children were talking about the advertisement after it premiered.
“The kids get a big kick out of it,” Heywood said. “It’s just, being in this little area, they don’t really get out much. So anything that happens here is a big deal for them.”
Antonio Matthews, who said he used to play basketball with Durant at the community center, said he enjoyed the commercial.
“It was pretty good,” Matthews said. “You got to give back to Seat Pleasant, because that’s where you’re from.”
Durant has made significant contributions to the center in past years, including a $25,000 donation in 2010.
“Giving back and supporting kids who are in the same position that I was in while growing up is very important to me,” Durant said in a statement. “I realize the positive impact it has on a kid when they know that people care.”