New team, old shoes — the highly anticipated “All-Star” Nike KD3 returns Friday.
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,” Philadelphia 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, the Nike KD3 “All-Star” is back. The ruby-red retros appear as the first formal foray to resurrect KD vault, 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, the real retro push from Nike and the KD collection is finally here.
Though the third signature sneaker from Durant may seem like an odd starting point, it makes sense for a myriad of reasons.
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.
“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 of its 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 it 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 among 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.
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.
Fulfilling its retro return 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
Ahead of All-Star Weekend 2023, the thematic Nike KD3 Retro returns just in time for the festivities in Salt Lake City.
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. Today, fans finally have a chance to pick up the retro “All-Star” KD3s.
However, Chicago Bulls rookie and former Arizona Wildcats standout/NIL superstar Dalen Terry rocked an OG pair last spring in NCAA action.
Funny enough, it was in Salt Lake City against the Utah Utes.
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 2022. “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.”
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.”
Today, the KD retro dream is finally a reality.
Like Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James before him, Kevin Durant enters 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 in 2022. “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. “
The Nike KD3 Retro “All-Star” is available now for $130 at select Nike retailers.
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