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Kevin Durant & Nike: Past, Present and Future

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
The 13-time All-Star and 35 Ventures co-founder has inked an agreement with Nike set to last far past his playing career.

Kevin Durant and Nike have agreed to a lifetime contract.

Joining the likes of LeBron James and Michael Jordan before him, Durant will work with the Beaverton-based brand far beyond his playing days as part of an extensive partnership that includes footwear, apparel, and retro products.

For those keeping track at home, Durant has played in Nike, Inc. innovations since his All-American ascent at Montrose Christian High School and into his consensus national Player of the Year season at the University of Texas. Durant formally signed with the Swoosh in 2007, just weeks after the Seattle Supersonics took him second in the NBA Draft.

The introductory deal instantly provided a return on investment as Durant won Rookie of the Year in 2008. Such success set the stage for a signature series that started in 2009 and is now on its 16th model.

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Over the course of KD and Nike’s partnership, the range of products has increased from marquee models and apparel to diffusion series silos sold around the world. Since the start, the KD collection has been tailored for the All-Star scorer while still appealing to pickup players of all origins.

Just as Nike has built products collaboratively with Durant over the course of his career, the brand and athlete have transcended the sport at every level by growing the game globally.

In 2010, Kevin founded Team Durant in Washington, DC as part of Nike Basketball’s Elite Youth Basketball League circuit. That same summer, he traveled to China with his Swoosh sponsors as a means to build the game internationally. Soon after, Texas wore his limited-edition sneakers in NCAA action, famously sporting the “Nerf” Nike KD 4 in 2011.

Since re-upping with Nike in 2014, the KD collection and brand have only grown in abundance and reach.

In 2023, hoopers of all ages, abilities, and origins don Durant designs from local parks to the NBA.

In the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, Kevin debuted the upcoming Nike KD 16. More colorways will come soon.

Back in February, the Nike KD 3 “All-Star” returned to retail for the first time, building anticipation of more archival Nike KDs to re-release.

“That’s a part of the business I always wanted to build — the retro business, because it lasts forever,” Durant said on “The ETCs.”

The opportunity to take a signature shoe line and apparel range to new heights is a unique opportunity where longevity is concerned within the Nike family.

A student of the game — both basketball and business — it’s an agreement for growth that’s years in the making. Back in 2021 on Boardroom’s The Sneaker Game, KD alluded to his desire to be a lifetime athlete at Nike.

In 2023, it happened. His shoes now share similar status in contemporary sneaker culture and NBA action.

“The fact that players would choose his shoes to wear in the game? It’s a joy to see,” Ms. Wanda Durant told Boardroom in April. “When Kevin was pursuing basketball, the early stages of the signature shoe craze was Jordans. It was a lot of the Hardaways.”

In spirit and storytelling, KD’s connected with core collectors and serious players similar to Jordan and Anfernee Hardaway.

He’s also broken new ground in the performance basketball category by releasing seasonal styles that raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer as seen by his “Aunt Pearl” offerings.

Additionally, he’s added a lifestyle lens to his line, working with musicians, clothing companies, and visual artists on collaborations.

As an ambassador at Nike and a signature athlete, Kevin Durant has spent the last 16 seasons painting pictures through footwear. His success in the NBA and at retail has allowed him to grow the game at every level.

It’s allowed him to build a business and a brand. More importantly, it’s inspired fans around the world to get active in the game he loves.

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About The Author
Ian Stonebrook
Ian Stonebrook
Ian Stonebrook is a Staff Writer covering culture, sports, and fashion for Boardroom. Prior to signing on, Ian spent a decade at Nice Kicks as a writer and editor. Over the course of his career, he's been published by the likes of Complex, Jordan Brand, GOAT, Cali BBQ Media, SoleSavy, and 19Nine. Ian spends all his free time hooping and he's heard on multiple occasions that Drake and Nas have read his work, so that's pretty tight.