Kevin Durant is the reigning NBA MVP. He's a six-year veteran, a global superstar.
And yet, says producer Jamie Patricoff, most people don't know anything about him.
"Where did Kevin play high school basketball?" Patricoff says. "Where did Kevin play college basketball? Why do we know so much about LeBron and we don't know anything about Kevin?"
If Durant's relative obscurity is a failure of brand marketing, consider HBO's new documentary the prescribed remedy. Titled "The Offseason," the new documentary follows Durant from the moment he wins his first MVP award last spring through a long, difficult summer filled with intensive workouts, endorsement obligations, travel and other busy work most fans don't associate with the words "summer break."
The documentary, which was produced in part by Durant's Roc Nation agent, Rich Kleiman, takes fans along with Durant as he starts focusing on a title run for the 2014-15 season.
While it's clear the documentary was designed as a marketing tool to build fan recognition while nurturing Durant's brand, the 50-minute HBO special -- which premiers Tuesday night -- also dispels some common misconceptions about how professional athletes spend their offseasons.
"The average fan does think it’s their time off, but [the offseason] is really their time on," Patricof says. "All great athletes, their days are packed. Everything from working out, to training with new basketball coaches, to trying different strengthening methods, to eating healthy ... they’re doing most of it [in the offseason].
"Seeing somebody go out there and play 82 basketball games, that's just a small fraction of what it takes to be a professional athlete."
Patricof says the most surprising thing he learned while producing the documentary is the way Durant pushed himself to keep improving. Even after winning the MVP award, the Oklahoma City Thunder star spent time trying to add new moves and elements to his game.
Where some would be content to stay in shape, Durant devoted the summer months to getting better.
Even so, and despite widespread belief that he and LeBron are the two best players in the NBA, Durant has been a figure often resigned to the periphery while LeBron, along with more flashy stars like Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, get the greatest degree of fan attention.
That's a trend "The Offseason" hopes to correct.
"Most people don’t know anything about Kevin Durant, and that’s what you’re seeing in the documentary," Patricof says. "They get to finally see who he is."