Derrick Rose was voted the 2010-2011 Most Valuable Player.

Kobe Bryant has five championship rings and has been labeled the best shooting guard since Michael Jordan.

LeBron James is so important that millions tuned in to a program devoted to what team he would resign with.

But perhaps the best player in the NBA, and one that seems to be unfortunately overshadowed, is Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.

Playing in a small market, and not one to boast about himself, Durant quietly goes about his business, despite being the back-to-back regular-season scoring champion.

The Washington, D.C.-native is basically unguardable. Though he's listed at 6'9, Durant is probably taller than that, yet he has the footwork and the perimeter skills of a guard, and punishes opponents with a deceptive first step penetration move.

His free-throw percentage is among the best in the NBA, which is very impressive considering most of the league leaders in that category have traditionally been veteran players. Larry Bird didn't average better than 90 percent from the free-throw line until he was in his eight season. Durant did it in his third.

Like Bird, Durant is one of the best catch-and-shoot outside players of his time. His quick release makes him a headache to guard, and when he scores it looks so effortless.

In his first three seasons, Durant improved his scoring average by roughly a five-point clip. He averaged 20.3 his rookie season, 25.3 his second season, and 30.1 his third season. His scoring average dipped 27.7 points this season, but that is probably due to the improved play of guard Russell Westbrook.

Durant's defense has improved as well, and with his long arms, he can give opponents fits.

He certainly gave the world fits when he was the MVP on Team USA's gold medal-winning team in the 2010 FIBA World Championships.

At only 22 years old, Durant already exhibits a great deal of maturity. He ranked fifth in minutes in the 2010-2011 regular season, yet didn't receive one technical foul.

While many of today's athletes embrace the spotlight with unnecessary theatrics, controversial statements, and tattoos, Durant avoids such things, and has never voiced a complaint about a coach or a teammate.

The most controversial thing he's done is call out Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh, for being a fake tough guy, and did it rather begrudgingly after being asked by a reporter.

I'm a quiet guy. I'm a laid back guy. But I'm not going to let anyone talk trash to me, said Durant. Then he went on to say that Bosh is a nice guy and a cool dude.

Such respect and graciousness is refreshing in today's young athletes, and every night he does something admirable when he puts on his jersey.

Durant wore number 35 at the University of Texas, and still wears it for the Oklahoma City Thunder, to honor Charles Craig his former youth mentor and coach, who died at age 35.

You have to feel for the fans in Seattle. The city lost the Super Sonics to Oklahoma City after the 2008 season, so they only had 80 games to watch Rookie of the Year Durant put on a clinic.

The Thunder might be on their way to winning an NBA title this season, something that would be unthinkable without Durant.

If you're in need of an athlete to root for, look no further than Kevin Durant.