The award was handed out as part of the fourth annual Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards in Los Angeles. The awards were presented by ESPN and sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
Just over a month after leading the Warriors to their second straight NBA title, Finals MVP Durant was saluted for his off-the-court efforts. In 2012, while with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he started the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation, which aims to "enrich the lives of at-risk youth from low-income backgrounds through educational, athletic and social programs." Earlier this year, he committed $10 million to a local chapter of College Track, a program that helps disadvantaged students attend college, in the Maryland town in which he grew up.
Additionally, Durant donated $1 million to tornado victims in Oklahoma in 2013, and he has built basketball courts throughout the world for low-income youth.
Doug Baldwin of the Seattle Seahawks, John Cena of the WWE and J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans were the other finalists for the Ali award.
Also recognized Tuesday at The Novo at L.A. Live was the U.S. women's hockey team, which was named the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year, given annually to a group "that demonstrates how teamwork can create a significant impact on a community or cause."
Last year, the women's national team staged a two-week boycott of the IIHF World Championships as it sought improvements from USA Hockey in several areas, including wages. The sides ultimately reached a new contract, one that improved annual compensation for players, including performance bonuses, and laid out ways that they can promote the women's game and assist development of its lower levels.
The Anaheim Ducks, Boston Red Sox, and Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire were the other finalists.
Others winners Tuesday night:
The WWE won the League Humanitarian Leadership Award for leveraging "the power of its brand and platforms to help address important social issues worldwide, providing support on issues including diversity and inclusion, education, military and providing hope to critically ill children."
Clothing company UNIQLO won the Corporate Community Impact Award for outfitting all the players in Street Soccer USA's sport-for-social-change leagues for homeless youth.
Multiple sports leagues and/or governing bodies -- including MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, USTA, WNBA and WWE, as well as the Women's Sports Foundation -- nominated athletes, teams and corporations who are transforming lives and uplifting communities. The finalists, chosen by an independent panel, were named last month.
Net proceeds from the awards benefited the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation. ESPN also gave a total of $1 million to the charities of the nominees and winners.
Some $1.8 million will be distributed to the community as a result of the awards.
Durant's impact goes well beyond the hardwood
Kevin Durant is a 2-time NBA Finals MVP, but his impact away from basketball has been just as impressive with work helping kids and troubled areas.