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SNEAKERS & FASHION

Nike KD Retro Run Set to Begin in 2023

After anticipation that’s been building for years, the “All-Star” Nike KD3 is reported to re-release for the first time ever next spring.

Have you been waiting on Kevin Durant’s nostalgic Nike signatures to come back? Well, you’re not alone.

“I’ve been begging KD to retro one of his shoes already,” Miami Heat forward (and NBA sneaker king) PJ Tucker told me way back in 2019. “I’ve been working on that.”

Well, PJ’s persistence is paying off. Following years of waiting, recent reports from Sneaker Files indicate that the Nike KD3 “All-Star” is set for a Spring 2023 comeback. The ruby-red retros appear to be the first formal foray in a vault KD campaign from Nike, though the Swoosh has flirted with the idea by way of a one-off shoe release late last decade.

In the summer of 2018, Nike Basketball celebrated postseason success with the “Think 16” Art of a Champion collection. A highlight in that 16-shoe series that spanned eras of excellence was the Nike KD4 “Thunderstruck” — an homage to Durant’s 2012 Playoff PE.

Despite dropping in singular fashion six years after its arrival with no follow-up, the fruits of that lone launch already demand two to three times their original retail rate on resale platforms like StockX. In the meantime, players like PJ Tucker and Ja Morant swear by the OGs, requesting more retro releases from the Nike KD collection early and often in a public fashion.

While we’ve been teased before, it appears a real retro push from Nike and the KD collection is actually on the way.

Though the third signature sneaker from Durant may seem like an odd starting point, it makes sense for a myriad of reasons.

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All-Star Arrival

Kevin Durant’s relationship with Nike dates back far beyond the day he signed his first contract.

“I was wearing Nikes my whole life,” Durant told Nick DePaula on Boardroom’s “The Sneaker Game.” “I’ve always been a fan of Nikes as a kid. As a basketball player in high school, AAU, and college, that’s all I wore on my feet. That’s all my friends wore. It felt a part of my DNA.”

And while Durant had long had Nike shoes growing up, it took time for him to have his own Nike signature shoe.

Kevin Durant dunks past LeBron James during the 2011 NBA All-Star Game on February 20, 2011 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

“They told me I was getting a signature shoe my second year in the league,” Durant recalled. “Like halfway through my second year. I was super excited.”

True to their word, the Nike KD1 released at retail on January 1, 2009 in three separate colorways. At only 20 years of age, Durant had a namesake Nike on his feet and in stores. Over the course of that second season, he upped his average to 25 points a game, putting the league on notice — and ensuring the Swoosh was sure on their bet.

By 2010, only two and a half seasons into his young NBA career, the Western Conference coaches voted Kevin Durant as a reserve in the All-Star Game. Nike knew they had something special in Durant, already having “All-Star” iterations in motion before the event took place.

By Year 4 and Shoe 3, KD was a fan favorite. The sharp-shooting swingman was voted an All-Star starter in 2011, taking place under the bright lights of the Staples Center. Durant, despite his youth, was the second-highest vote-getter amongst Western starters, topped only by local legend and eventual All-Star MVP Kobe Bryant. Besides Bryant, Durant outscored all peers, pouring in 34 points and edging out the LeBron James-led East for a win.

Durant’s dominance when competing against the game’s best continued for years to come, scoring 36, 30, and 38 in his next three All-Star outings.

Now a 12-time NBA All-Star, the brand that’s backed him since his college career is returning the sneakers that scored his first start in the mid-season showcase.

Nike KD 3 “All-Star” (Photo via Nike, Inc.)

Originally released in 2011 and retailing for $88, the Nike KD3 “All-Star” showcased a Challenge Red upper accented by flashy finishes, smoky black contrast, and a semi-translucent sole. Despite design duties for the All-Star Game uniforms being split between Adidas and the NBA, Durant’s signature sneakers matched perfectly. Ironically enough, they also matched the radiant red Balmain biker jeans that Kanye West wore while performing at halftime.

Approaching its retro arrival in 2023, the return of the “All-Star” KD III may not be on schedule in regard to ten-year anniversary calendar. However, it’s still exactly on time.

Salt Lake Splash

Reports peg the Nike KD3 Retro “All-Star” to return with a Spring 2023 release date. Assuming factory delays are a thing of the past by then, one would place this pair’s return fittingly around All-Star Weekend 2023, which takes place in Salt Lake City from February 17 to 19.

For fans old enough to remember the originals or those young enough to have outgrown previous pairs, the Nike KD3 and other models from the early ’10s occupy a new nostalgia that hoopers obsess over. While the world will have to wait until next year to pick up a pair of retro “All-Star” KD3s, Arizona Wildcats standout and NIL superstar Dalen Terry already rocked an OG pair in NCAA action.

Funny enough, it was in Salt Lake City against the Utah Utes.

Dalen Terry of the Arizona Wildcats drives against Gabe Madsen of the Utah Utes, 2022 (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

Rising talent like Terry revere older Durant designs and the shoes sported by his peers the same way stars of the 2000s adored Air Jordans and prized Penny Hardaway signatures.

“I like the older stuff,” Terry told Boardroom in April. “All the Kobes, the old Hyperdunks, KD4s, KD5s, KD6s. I’ve been looking for the Krispy Kreme Kyrie 2s for the longest. I like a lot of the old LeBron Soldiers from when he was with Cleveland in the beginning.”

PJ Tucker’s “All-Star” KD3s worn at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, 2019 (Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

For ballers blessed with a bank account or affinity for eBay, picking up old KDs is a sport in itself. Years ago, Tucker told Durant himself in an episode of Boardroom’s streaming series just how much money he’s spent searching for vault Nike KD pairs.

Always with an appreciation for the moment, Tucker broke out OG “All-Star” KD3s in 2019 when playing a road game in Oklahoma City.

Despite being solely focused on the game, Durant is aware of his younger peers gravitating to the shoes he made cool over a decade ago.

“I’ve seen Derrick Jones wear the Weathermans,” noted Durant. “I’ve seen Ja Morant, Tyrese Halliburton, John Wall, and James Ennis wore ‘em. Melo Ball wore ‘em before, when he was hooping over in Australia. To see that guys in the league look at those as Retros, for one, makes me feel old. [Laughs] At the same time, it make me realize that we may need to drop one of these again.”

Next year, the KD retro dream will finally become a reality.

Like Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James before him, Kevin Durant will enter the rarified air that comes with having a new shoe on the market at the same time as an old one. It’s been a long wait for fans – and NBA elite — but hopefully, it will signal much, much more to come.

“I feel like I have a few shoes that can last,” Durant said. “I feel like my brand and who I am as a player is pretty solidified in this sport. So hopefully, we can keep building what we have right now and see what happens.”

“What I really want at the end of the day is for people to really look at those as my ball sneaks, you know? ‘When I go out to hoop, I’m gonna pick these KDs up every time.’ It feels good to see that. “

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