Arguably the second-best player in the league today, Kevin Durant is slowly nipping at the heels of LeBron James. He finally one-upped the King when he made a clutch 3-point basket over LeBron to snatch the win in Game 3, and ultimately clinch the series of the 2017 NBA finals.
“That was the best moment I ever had,” Durant recounts. “I made the game-winning shot in the Finals against my f—— idol. Somebody that I really, really, really followed since I was a ninth-grade high schooler.”
Raised in the slums of Seat Pleasant, Durant had to grind his way to the top. His father Wayne left before he turned one, and his mother Wanda was tasked to raise him and his siblings. "He helped with child support, but wasn't the presence that they needed from a father," Wanda said. She had to juggle work and taking care of her kids. So, she decided to sign up the young Durant at the Seat Pleasant Activity Center.
With the guidance of Chucky Craig (the rec center’s basketball coach) and Taras Brown (he ran an AAU team loosely connected to the center), Durant learned to love the game of basketball and tirelessly worked on his newfound obsession day in and out. "He wasn't just hungry, he was a sponge,” Brown said of Durant. “He always wanted to know what he had done wrong, even when we won by 30."
KD recognizes that no one escapes hell alone. He valued all the time, care, and effort that Wanda, Coach Brown, and everyone else who supported him gave; so, he worked relentlessly, drill after drill even to the point of exhaustion.
Seeing all of his efforts start to pay off, Durant became the first freshman to be named the national player of the year by averaging 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game during his one year stint with the University of Texas Longhorns. A few days after the 2007 NCAA Tournament, he officially declared for the NBA Draft and was selected second overall by the Seattle Supersonics (the team relocated to Oklahoma in 2008 and is now known as the Oklahoma City Thunder).
For his outstanding play during his rookie season, the versatile forward won the 2007-2008 Rookie of the Year award. Durant has since been selected to nine All-Star teams and seven All-NBA first teams. He has also won four Scoring Championships and two Olympic Gold medals. In addition to that, he was named the 2011-2012 All-Star game MVP and was voted as the 2013-2014 regular season MVP.
Durant has achieved so much ever since entering the league; however, despite his greatest efforts, he always fell short at realizing every elite NBA star’s dream: winning an NBA Championship.
During the 2016 offseason, Durant made the controversial decision of joining the already stacked Golden State Warriors, home of the likes of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. He explained in the Players’ Tribune that the decision was based on his potential for growth as a player and also to find an opportunity that welcomes his evolution as a man.
With less than a minute left in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA finals, LeBron’s Cavs were up 113-111. Durant brought the ball up the floor, stopped at the 3-point line, and splashed a clutch basket over the outstretched arms of the King. Proving his critics and haters wrong, he finally fulfilled his quest to become an NBA Champion and was recognized as the Finals MVP in the process.
Durant has seen the same amount of success off the hardwood. As he started his NBA career, he decided to sign with Nike despite having a better offer from Adidas. "At the end of the day, Kevin has been with Nike his whole career and he felt comfortable with them," Aaron Goodwin, Durant’s agent at that time, explains. "He took the time to give Adidas the opportunity and they're a great company, but he chose the company that he's more familiar with. And we build brands on authenticity and it's more authentic for him to be somewhere where he wants to be and he's comfortable."
During its signing, his Nike basketball shoes contract was the second-largest rookie endorsement deal in basketball history. He turned down a $70 million offer with a $12 million signing bonus from Adidas and instead signed a seven-year $60 million contract with Nike that includes a $10 million signing bonus.
In 2014, when his seven-year contract was about to end, a high-end bidding war ensued between Under Armour and Nike. His love for Nike endured when he officially re-signed with the brand. According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports, “The 10-year deal with Nike has the potential to reach $300 million and includes a $50 million retirement package, two people familiar with the terms of the deal told USA TODAY Sports.”
Nike unveiled the first KD basketball shoes during his sophomore season. Ten years after joining the NBA, his signature KD shoes are still going strong. In fact, its 11th iteration is expected to release this Fall 2018.
A Quick Guide to Kevin Durant Basketball Shoes
Being the brand that signed an unproven Michael Jordan in 1984, Nike has been known for partnering with elite-level talent over the past decades. A Nike guy through and through, Kevin Durant has always been considered as one of the best, only falling behind LeBron James.
His recent Championship is a testament to his evolution as a player and has also strengthened his marketability as a Nike endorser. From the streets of Seat Pleasant to the Bay’s Golden Gate, Durant’s signature KD shoes have paralleled his growth on and off the court.
As surprising as it may be, the first pair of Kevin Durant basketball shoes were priced at just $88. It sported a mid-top silhouette with your run-of-the-mill Nike technologies. Fast-forward to 2018, and the latest KD shoes now retail at $150.
“As humbly as I can say it, I’m not a $88 player,” Durant explained when asked about the KD basketball shoes’ price change. “I’m an elite player in the league. I wanted everything to be affordable, but I knew we had to sacrifice some stuff. I just wanted the fans of the brand and of the shoe to just stay patient with me. And stay patient with who I am as a player, and the level I was trying to go to.”
Matching his growth as an athlete, his signature Kevin Durant basketball shoes gradually transformed into a sleek low-top packed with Nike’s most innovative technologies.
"You get a $250 shoe for like $150," Durant further explained. "I knew that these shoes, in order to stay on the same course and trajectory [that i was headed], I would have to come up a bit on some of the stuff I said earlier. Hopefully people understand, and I think a lot of people have."
Over the past few seasons, Nike basketball shoes, which include Durant’s KD shoes, have seen a decline in sales. Despite this recent trend, signature sneakers remain relevant as basketball fans tend to follow the styles of their favorite NBA stars. No longer just made for the court, basketball shoes have also crossed into streetwear culture.
Innovative, stylish, and comfortable. These are the reasons why Kevin Durant basketball shoes rank as one of the top five best-selling NBA signature sneakers.
- Nike KD I. Retailing for only $88, these were the first KD sneakers for sale and were highly praised for its performance. The Nike KD I was designed with Durant’s perimeter game in mind. It features forefoot Zoom Air cushioning and a durable XDR outsole.
- Nike Zoom KD II. Just three years in and Durant is already a force to be reckoned with. Designed for quick and explosive players like him, these KD basketball shoes feature a Phylon midsole with forefoot Zoom Air. A midfoot strap was also introduced in this model to enhance lockdown. Regarded as one of the best shoes in his line, he won his first scoring title wearing his Nike Zoom KD II.
- Nike Zoom KD III. Retailing for just $85 like its predecessor, the Nike Zoom KD III is another high-performance model with a budget-friendly price. These KD basketball sneakers went without the midfoot strap and had a noticeably lower cut than the first two versions. The cushioning setup remained the same. However, with its lower profile and the addition of Flywire, the KD III became the fastest and lightest model at that point. It is also worth noting that this model was the first KD shoes made available in NikeID. He was also wearing these basketball shoes when he scored 66 points at Rucker Park during the 2011 NBA lockout.
- Nike Zoom KD IV. While keeping the same Phylon and Zoom Air cushioning setup that Durant loves, these Nike basketball shoes were updated to meet the demands of his evolving game. The midfoot strap (now called the Adaptive Fit System) seen in the KD2 was reworked for improved lockdown while a three-layer Hyperfuse construction was used to enhance the breathability and durability of the Nike Zoom KD 4.
- Nike Zoom KD V. Aside from the jump in price ($115) and design (more of a high-top), most of the performance technologies included in the KD IV were carried over to the KD 5. The only other notable changes in this model are the addition of a heel clip and a sturdy heel Max Air unit.
- Nike Zoom KD V Elite. Finally recognizing Durant’s elite level of play, Nike hooked him up with a postseason model. The KD 5 Elite has a lower cut than the regular KD V and includes innovations such as a heavy-duty Hyperfuse upper, Kevlar-enforced Flywire cables, caged Zoom Air, and a carbon fiber heel counter. Because of all the updated tech, these Kevin Durant basketball shoes retailed for $180.
- Nike Zoom KD VI. Drawing inspiration from a well-crafted wristwatch, the KD VI focuses more on refining key performance attributes to make Durant better on the court. These low-top KD basketball sneakers feature the same high-performance technologies he has come to love with just a few modifications. It features a new tongue construction for a better fit and a data-informed traction pattern for ultimate court grip.
- Nike Zoom KD VI Elite. Upgraded for Durant’s playoff push, the KD VI Elite boasts a completely visible full-length Nike Zoom Air unit. With its lighter construction, these premium KD shoes are designed to move with the foot naturally.
- Nike Zoom KD 7. The Nike KD VII is specially made to complement Durant’s natural blend of stability and mobility. These KD basketball sneakers feature the Zone 3 technology for fast movements, a Hyperposite heel wrap for protection, and a midfoot cross strap for lockdown.
- Nike Zoom KD 7 Elite. Despite not making the 2015 Playoffs, Nike still expanded on Durant’s Elite series run. The KD VII Elite has a completely retooled upper with more perforations for added airflow. These Nike basketball shoes were engineered to enhance his natural motion and responsiveness.
- Nike Zoom KD 8. The KD VIII is designed to keep Durant light, locked, and loaded. It features a new Flyweave upper for lightweight support, a retooled full-length Zoom Air unit for low-profile cushioning, and ultralight Flywire cables for dynamic lockdown.
- Nike Zoom KD 8 Elite. Precision built for Durant’s postseason run, the KD 8 Elite boasts a calf-length compression sock, Flywire technology with Kevlar aramid fibers, and a full-length visible Nike Zoom Air cushioning. Its key benefits are enhanced support, superior lockdown, and a responsive ride.
- Nike Zoom KD 9. Inspired by Durant’s drive to continuously improve his already-dominant game, the Nike KD 9 levels up its design and performance. Featuring a full-length Nike Zoom Air unit, a Flyknit forefoot, and intersecting lace loops, these KD basketball shoes are engineered to flow with his every movement naturally.
- Nike Zoom KD 9 Elite. Re-engineered for on-court battle, the KD 9 Elite features a one-piece stretch collar and more prominent Flywire cables for a locked-in fit.
- Nike Zoom KDX. Ten years have passed since Durant entered the NBA and also joined the Nike family. As his partnership with Nike designer Leo Chang continues to flourish, his shoes have improved both in design and performance. "This evolution with Nike, to be on my tenth shoe . . . it's a dream come true," says Durant. The Nike Zoom KDX is as versatile and responsive as he is. It features zoned Flyknit, full-length Zoom Air cushioning, and a unique lacing system.
- Nike Zoom KD 11. According to designer Leo Chang, Kevin prefers comfort and wants a broken-in feel. Because of this, the Nike KD 11 is the third consecutive KD model that features a soft Flyknit upper. These basketball shoes are also equipped with a combination of React foam and full-length Zoom cushioning.
Aside from the Kevin Durant shoes listed above, he also has a secondary line called the Nike KD Trey 5.
Based on the Nike KD V’s silhouette, the Trey 5 is an affordable model that has a style of its own. For just $90, you can already grab the latest version (the KD Trey 5 V) of these budget KD sneakers for sale.
Designer’s Studio: The Creative Mind Behind Durant’s signature KD Shoes
Kevin Durant basketball shoes have always been lauded for its solid on-court performance. Its design has seen a dramatic shift over the years, and it has gradually become one of the most anticipated models Nike basketball has to offer.
Behind its success is a decade-long partnership between Kevin Durant and Nike Basketball Design Director Leo Chang. Their friendship began a year before the first KD shoes rolled out of the Nike factory.
Unaware of what was in store, Chang led the rookie Durant through the entire signature process. “I didn’t think Nike would do that much for me. I figured they’d just say, ‘Ok, here’s your shoe, go put it on,'” describes Durant. “I was prepared for that, and I was just happy [to have my own shoe].”
Chang was very thorough, detailed, and thoughtful throughout the process of developing the concepts for Kevin Durant basketball shoes. “They came to my neighborhood, and they wanted to see the house I grew up in and where me and my cousins used to play,” Durant recalls. “Where I first learned to play the game of basketball and where I took my first shot ever. They wanted to see all of that stuff, and I was excited, because nobody had wanted to get that deep into me as a person, where I come from and the people that helped me make me who I am. They cared about how I got to this point, and they didn’t just care about now. They wanted to know about the journey and the steps that I made to get to where I am.”
From their first trip to Seat Pleasant to traveling throughout the US, Europe, and Asia, Chang’s close relationship with Durant allowed him to understand better what the signature athlete is looking for year after year.
“I was lucky enough to be put on that project, and I’ve always approached the signature process as getting to know the person first before even putting pen to paper,” Chang explains. “It can’t be that I’m making up some fictitious story or some fake insights, it has to come from him. I wanted to take that opportunity to really see everything from his lens before he became a superstar in the NBA and set foot on a NBA floor. It was a special moment [visiting his hometown with him], and so many of the things that I saw then still make up who he is as a person.”
Leo Chang, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, oversees all the shoes that come out of Nike’s basketball division and is the man behind the line of signature KD shoes.
As a child, Chang was into drawing and had an obsession with shoes - especially Nikes. He temporarily forgot about his obsession until he went to college. When deciding what to major in, a presentation about industrial design had a slide with a shoe in it. At that point, he thought to himself, “Ok, I’m going back.”
Chang made it his mission to apply for a Nike internship. During the summer of 2000, he finally got his wish and interned at Nike’s running division. “It was actually an incredible time because it was leading into the Summer Olympics and I was sitting next to the guys that were working on Michael Johnson’s gold spikes, which was insane – it was crazy,” he describes.
Shortly after, Chang went back to school and graduated in 2001. He tried to get back to designing shoes full time and luckily enough, by October that same year, he landed a job at Nike’s running division once again.
“It wasn’t until I think ’06 or ’07 that I switched over to Basketball,” recounts Chang. “One of the first things I did actually was meet up with KD.”
Aside from crafting Kevin Durant basketball shoes, Chang also heads the team behind Irving’s signature Kyrie basketball sneakers. He is also known for overseeing the Nike Hyperize, Nike Hyperdunk, Nike Hyperfuse, and Nike HyperRev lines.
Let the Shoes Do the Talking: Storytelling Elements of Kevin Durant Basketball Shoes
Aside from meeting the athletes’ on-court needs, signature shoes also reflect their personality and narrate their unique journey. Through their sneakers, signature athletes can pay tribute to the people, places, and even things that have influenced and inspired them. These personal touches add value to the sneakers, making each version special.
Signature shoes tend to have personalized design elements that continuously appear throughout the line. Aside from his KD logo and the number 35, Kevin Durant prefers to have different storytelling details in each shoe model. His stories are mostly told through unique colorways and traction patterns.
During the early days of his signature line, there were a few design staples that have appeared in different KD shoes. In recent years, he has adopted a more minimalistic approach with the designs of his sneakers.
- KD Logo. Durant’s KD logo is simplistic and quiet. Its composed of stylized lower case letters that form his initials.
- 35. Durant wears the number 35 to honor his childhood coach and mentor Charles “Big Chucky” Craig who was murdered at the age of 35.
- “Big Chucky”. Some of Durant’s shoes have a shoutout to his mentor Charles Craig.
- Wanda, Barbara, Wayne, Tony. The names of his mother, grandmother, father, and brother appear in several models.
- Postage-stamp-inspired design. Durant’s mother used to work at the post office.
- Security Badge. His father was a security officer. A security badge graphic is in reference to him.
- Seat Pleasant, Md. Seat Pleasant is Durant’s hometown. Appearing in different forms, this design element is either a logo, graphic, or colorway
When to Expect New Kevin Durant Basketball Shoes
Serious sneakerheads are always on the lookout for new models to rock on the court and in the streets. Therefore, knowing when to expect the freshest set of kicks is vital to keep your athleisure style in-trend.
Generally speaking, brands launch new signature models each NBA season with updated versions during the Playoffs. Limited-edition colorways can also be anticipated during the initial run of the new model (like the Nike PG2 Playstation and the Jordan Why Not Zer0.1 Mirror Image).
Colorway updates are expected throughout the year to commemorate special achievements (such as winning the MVP award or being crowned NBA Champion), events (such as the All-Star Game and the Olympics), and occasions (such as Chinese New Year, Black History Month, and Christmas Day).
When it comes to launching new KD shoes, Nike has been a little all over the place. Although, it is worth noting that during the line’s early years, the release dates were a bit predictable.
The first two models saw a February release, and then the next three were launched every December. After that, newer models are being introduced in the middle of the year.
Cheap KD Sneakers for Sale
Athletes on a budget are always on the lookout for the best deals. So, it is crucial to know when and where to buy Nike basketball shoes and other performance shoes to support your passion.
When it comes to Kevin Durant basketball shoes, newer isn’t always better. Ballers can wait until the latest models hit the racks since the older ones usually go on sale by then. Brands also tend to overproduce their shoes, so it is a great idea to check outlet stores for awesome deals.
If you prefer to shop online like everyone else, then you are in luck. Instead of checking out the latest offerings, it is better to browse through the older ones because those will surely be on sale. Online retailers can give better discounts, and they can also supply buyers with promo codes to further reduce the shoe's price.
Lesser-known Facts About Kevin Durant
How tall is Kevin Durant?
Durant is officially listed at 6 feet and 9 inches, but in reality, he is close to 7 feet tall. He admitted in an interview that without his shoes he is 6-10 and three-quarters. With his shoes on he tops out at 7 feet.
Does Kevin Durant have tattoos?
The short answer is Yes. In fact, his whole back and stomach are covered with ink. Durant refrained from having his arms and neck tattooed and preferred to get what was once labeled as “business tattoos.” He has large tattoos of Tupac and Rick James on his legs while across his back is the word Maryland.
What are Kevin Durant’s hobbies?
Photography is one of Durant’s major hobbies. As proof, he took photos for The Player’s Tribune during Super Bowl L (50).
He also loves playing video games. He asserts that he is an expert in FIFA and NBA 2K. He honed his skills during his early days in OKC by playing against neighborhood kids.
5 best Kevin Durant basketball shoes
- Nike KD 12
- Nike KD 4
- Nike KD 6
- Nike KD Trey 5 VII
- Nike KD Trey 5 VI
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