Kevin Durant has been one of the most divisive basketball players of recent times. Through the first 9 years of his NBA career he was a small market hero done good. Dragging the newly minted Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012 to face off against none of than Lebron James and the Miami Heat. All that changed in the Summer of 2016 when he signed on with the 72-win Golden State Warriors. His shoes however, they’ve always been popular.
The KD9 is the signature basketball shoe worn by NBA star Kevin Durant during the 2016/17 season. This was his first year with the Golden State Warriors and saw him win his first NBA championship, claiming Finals MVP at the same time. It is produced by Nike as part of his ongoing and long-term shoe deal with the sportswear giant. Kevin Durant, KD, has worn Nike shoes every year he has played in the NBA since signing the then, second largest Rookie shoe deal in NBA history.
The KD9 is one of Durant’s most popular signature shoes. What caused this, why was it so special? Will his shoes continue to grow in popularity now he is playing in Brooklyn?
The KD 9 – Kevin Durant’s 2016/17 shoe
The KD 9 was aimed at players that competed all over the court. Not just offense and defence, but like KD those who could be equally comfortable rising up or driving by on the perimeter as catching the ball on the block and letting their footwork do the talking in the post. Nikes official website claims:
“His new signature shoe adapts to every move with a second-skin fit and re-engineered cushioning”
As with all modern superstars the shoe is designed to suit his game perfectly and give him ultimate comfort and control:
“A full-length Nike Zoom Air unit is thicker in the heel to cushion hard landings, and thinner in the forefoot, for superior pop when KD pulls up quickly.”
Responding to the dynamic nature of modern players and KD in particular Nike equipped the KD9 with a lace cage as described below:
“Intersecting lace loops create a “cage” that supports and contains KD’s foot during quick cuts and sprints”
Basketball has always been a visual sport, about style as well as power. In the Instagram age this is even more amped up. The KD9 was designed stylistically in collaboration between KD himself and Nike Basketball Designer Leo Chang.
“KD saw a connection between his playing style and the fluid quality of Nike Flyknit, so he asked Chang to use the technology for his new signature shoe. Chang took it a step further by devising an all-new honeycomb construction: “It’s a great geometry because it allows for movement, stability and containment,” he says of the nature-inspired design.”
The Golden State Warriors Effect
Despite only injury preventing KD from claiming 3 titles and 3 finals MVPs in his 3 years with the Golden State Warriors, his move there probably did more to harm his profile than take it supernova, as his on court accomplishments might suggest. While the Warriors played in California, Oakland (now San Francisco) isn’t Los Angeles. The Lakers will always be the biggest market. Over the last decade it’s been clear that the Warriors have dominated on the court, their status has grown and they have been immensely popular. However, many see Durrants move as a negative. He shared the spotlight with the NBA’s only ever unanimous MVP in Steph Curry and was backed up by the ever-lovable Klay Thompson and the enigmatic Draymond Green. He divided the Warriors fan base, “we were winning anyway – why did they need him? He just takes the shine off our home grown superstars!”
He frustrated the hopes of big market fans and those of contenders. “why didn’t he come here? Couldn’t he win without the 73 win Warriors backing him up? This should have been our title Window, it’s not fair!”
He even managed to somehow annoy many neutrals. “he’s ruined the competitive balance, there’s no point even watching the playoffs now”.
While none of this is KD’s problem, his right is to play where he wants, his job is to win Basketball games, playoff series and NBA Championships. He’s done that with bells on.
Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. His move to Golden State and leap from “the next guy” to “THE guy” hasn’t bought with it the popularity, adoration and shoe sales it might have if he’d chosen a different road to the ultimate NBA success.
Brooklyn and the big market promise
Injury ended KD’s 2019 season during the Finals. He went out as a hero, limping back to the court during the Finals, having a huge impact before finally succumbing to his injury. The Warriors wouldn’t win their 3rd straight title, He wouldn’t raise his third Finals MVP trophy. The off season saw his name constantly in the mouths of sports medias talking heads, mentioned on Podcasts and filling column inches. Where would he play next? A return to Golden State? The Lakers with Lebron? The bright lights of the Big Apple seemed to be the most likely option as the Knicks seemed to be ready to land him and Kyrie Irving.
It was the perennial underdog The Brooklyn Nets who landed them both. Currently in the midst of a written off season with KD still out injured it’s yet to be seen if he can haul the Nets past the Knicks and establish them as the biggest ticket in town. Doing that would surely cement his legacy as one of the greatest ever, send his shoe sales through the roof in popularity and ultimately write the final and most important chapter in the story of Kevin Durrant, NBA Superstar. Is he confident? I’ll let him field that one:
“I didn’t grow up with the Knicks being good… So the Brand of the Knicks isn’t as cool as, let’s say The Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the nets now. The cool thing right now is not the Knicks”Kevin Durant, October 2019
The KD13’s will be available for the start of the 2020/21 Season. Expect them to fly off the shelves.
Kevin Durant Basketball Shoes list table
|2007/2008||Seattle Supersonics||Nike Flight School – KD Colorway||Rookie Year|
|2008/2009||Oklahoma City Thunder||Nike Zoom KD I||First Signature Shoe|
|2009/2010||Oklahoma City Thunder||Nike Zoom KD II||Scoring Champion|
|2010/2011||Oklahoma City Thunder||Nike Zoom KD III||Scoring Champion|
|2011/2012||Oklahoma City Thunder||Nike Zoom KD IV||Reached NBA Finals|
|2012/2013||Oklahoma City Thunder||Nike KD V|
|2013/2014||Oklahoma City Thunder||Nike KD VI||Won MVP|
|2014/2015||Oklahoma City Thunder||Nike KD 7|
|2015/2016||Oklahoma City Thunder||Nike KD 8|
|2016/2017||Golden State Warriors||Nike KD9||NBA Champion/Finals MVP|
|2017/2018||Golden State Warriors||Nike KD X||NBA Champion/Finals MVP|
|2018/2019||Golden State Warriors||Nike KD 11||Reached NBA Finals|
|2019/2020||Brooklyn Nets||Nike KD 12||Injured/first year in Brooklyn|