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Inside the Namesake Nostalgia of Kevin Durant’s Nike KD Collection

Last Updated: July 1, 2023

Missed the latest sneaker talk on Boardroom’s “The ETCs” with KD and Eddie Gonzalez? Click here to listen and download.

Kevin Durant’s signature series with the Swoosh runs deep. Boardroom explores its recent retro and OG proliferation amongst the next generation of hoopers.

Devin Booker was only 12 years old when Kevin Durant received his first pair of namesake Nikes.

Set to score his own signature shoe next season, the 26-year-old shooting guard recently took to shoot around in an installment of his new teammate’s popular “Aunt Pearl” series. However, it wasn’t the 15th flavor that was released and sold out in stores mere months ago.

Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Rather, it was a pink pair of the Nike KD 6 that came out in 2014 when Booker was merely a Moss Point, Mississippi high school senior finishing his spring semester.

For the active All-Star and signature star to be, the Nike KD series aligns with both Book’s ascent and the expansion of the KD catalog.

“I like seeing people hoop in them,” Durant said on April 11’s episode of Boardroom’s “The ETCs” with Eddie Gonzalez. “Every college game, I scan the shoes seeing who’s got what on.”

Over the course of the 2022-23 NBA and college hoops seasons, the Nike KD collection was verifiably beloved at each level of the game in styles both classic and brand new.

From Ja Morant and Jahvon Quinerly to Derrick Jones Jr. and Jaden McDaniels, numerous Durant designs from the past decade continue to turn heads on courts across the country.

Heading into the NBA Playoffs and on the heels of the first formal Nike KD retro release, Boardroom breaks down Kevin’s kicks from the past that have been getting the most traction this season.

Nike KD 3

Devin Vassell in the Nike KD 3 Retro (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

In 2011, Kevin Durant got his first start in the NBA All-Star Game.

Fittingly, he scored 34 points. Famously, he did so in the recently retro’d Nike KD 3.

Aligning with a time when Durant was rising in the ranks and becoming contemporaries with the likes of LeBron and Kobe, the KD 3 saw an $88 signature endorsed by a 30-per-game scorer.

From “Christmas” colorways to Thunder takes, the third installment of Durant’s line was low and light, appealing to hoopers of all ages — but particularly hitting home with parents providing pairs for their growing kids.

Now in 2023, the likes of San Antonio’s Devin Vassell and the University of Alabama’s Jahvon Quinerly swear by the style, both playing on basketball’s biggest stages today in the retro release but only being elementary or middle school age when the originals released.

“I have emotions when I see somebody in the 3s or some 4s,” Durant said.

Nike KD 4

Anfernee Simons in the Nike KD IV “Christmas” (Soobum Im/Getty Images)

Sometimes, the stars align.

Such was the case when the Nike KD 4 was released for the 2011-12 NBA Season.

Worn by Durant en route to his first All-Star Game MVP award and his grand entrance to the Finals, the KD 4 captured Durant’s ascent to a household name while offering an aesthetic and a price all households could appreciate. Releasing in droves of colorways for an approachable $95, the strapped style coincided with a golden age of Nike Basketball in both a performance and lifestyle lens.

All that energy was amplified by some of the category’s best storytelling, seen namely on the “NERF” edition, “Galaxy” collection, and “Weatherman” makeup.

In recent seasons, everyone from Ja Morant to Josh Giddey has given original iterations of the Nike KD 4 lots of love on the court with pairs pulling weight on the aftermarket and aged into a space of nostalgia. While a retro release of the KD 4 happened in 2018 as a one-off moment, fans are already crossing their fingers for a formal Round 2 rollout to take place.

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

Nike KD 6

Derrick Jones Jr. in the Nike KD 6 “All-Star” (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

To some, the Nike KD 5 was a miss due to its high-top build.

Offering a zag towards protection and durability following the flexible 4, the KD 5 pushed the price up to $115 and the upper above the ankle. Never predictable, designer Leo Chang veered left again with the ultra-low Nike KD 6.

Once again, fans were hooked.

“People like to be in low-top shoes now,” Durant said. “Especially hooping.”

Almost akin to a skate shoe in its stance, the flat foundation of the KD 6 spoke volumes about creativity through an unconventional tongue while wearing both brand and athlete logos in bold fashion on the upper. Beloved by ballers like Derrick Jones Jr., the model ranks high where wearers waiting on a retro release are concerned.

Nike KD 7

Jaden McDaniels in the Nike KD 7 “Calm Before the Storm” (David Berding/Getty Images)

Beefing up the line in materials and price, the $150 KD 7 brought back the signature strap to the PG County kid’s collection while also adding DMV-favored Foamposite on the heel.

Though the shoe broke new ground for the series in regard to retail and aesthetics, the shoe was seldom worn by KD himself due to an injury he suffered for the season in which they dropped.

That doesn’t mean they didn’t resonate with young fans who grew up rooting for Durant and looking to make the Association themselves, however, as seen in NBA action throughout 2022-23.

“Jaden McDaniels wore some KD 7s and it was good to see them on the court,” Durant said. “When I see those? I didn’t play in the 7s, I got injured that year, so I didn’t get to put them on the court like that. It’s a good-looking shoe.”

McDaniels, a defensive stalwart who grew up in Seattle, was merely a middle school student when the KD 7 arrived at retail. Now making more than $2 million a season as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, it’s an easy pickup for the forward who watched Durant all the way back to his Sonics season as a wide-eyed rookie.

Nike KD 12

Aaron Holiday in the Nike KD 12 “Aunt Pearl” (Rick Osentoski/Getty Images)

Debuted by Durant in 2018-19 — his last season in the Bay — the Nike KD 12 followed a run of Flyknit-based basketball shoes for a soft, snug, and bouncy return to what quickly became a chukka cut.

Introducing Zoom Strobel cushioning and curated with the help of Don C, the 12th KD signature shoe did not see a ton of wear from Durant himself in NBA action due to an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals. However, the shoe spoke for itself, as an array of athletes at all levels laced the model during its arrival run.

Many still do today.

In recent seasons, the likes of Aaron Holiday, Duncan Robinson, Jalen Duren, and Ja Morant have all dusted off pairs of the KD 12, from “All-Star” iterations to the “Aunt Pearl” pair.

“They’ve been following my line for a minute now,” Durant said.

Nike KD 13

Pascal Siakam in the Nike KD 13 (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

These days, the Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Low lives as the most popular shoe in KD’s off-court rotation.

A few years back, the apple of his eye was the Off-White x Nike Blazer. Designed in collaboration with Virgil Abloh, the deconstructed take on the George Gervin classic bucked trend by exaggerating the Swoosh on the upper so much that it extended to the midsole. Such styling cues informed the Nike KD 13.

Despite Durant now being on his 15th signature shoe — a model that ranks No. 5 in popularity across the entire NBA — this model dating back to the 2020 NBA Bubble remains relevant on the feet of numerous hoopers, including Raptors star Pascal Siakam.

“It’s dope seeing at least one or two guys with my joints on, whether it’s the retros or the new ones,” Durant said. “To see high school, college, and league? It’s cool.”

As 2023 approaches its halfway mark, the KD collection has a strong future built on a strong past. Styles from the last decade drive a new sense of nostalgia for young hoopers that came up idolizing Durant, while new launches of the retro and signature variety have all involved excited.

And before long, this namesake signature line will birth yet another sequel.

“When the 16s drop,” Durant said, “you’re gonna want some of those.”


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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.