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The Nike KD3 ‘Christmas’ Retro Revival

Kevin Durant and Nike are taking it back to KD’s first Noel as an NBA superstar. Boardroom has all the details on this anticipated re-release.

What do Kris Kringle, firefighters, and Kevin Durant all have in common?

They work on Christmas.

Since becoming an All-Star starter and NBA scoring champ, the league has leveraged KD as a mainstay for their marquee action each Dec. 25. This holiday season, Kevin will be partaking in his eleventh Christmas Day game.

The trend began in 2010 when the then-22-year-old talent led the Oklahoma City Thunder to a home win over the Denver Nuggets.

Playing in front of 18,000 fans in OKC and millions more on TV, Durant dominated all adversaries by dropping 44 points — the highest scoring total league-wide on the NBA’s biggest day of the year.

While KD stood out on the court and in box scores, his shoes shined even more. Debuting the Nike KD3 “Christmas” in his breakout performance, the bright yellow sneakers stamped Durant’s performance as not only a face of the league but a luminary at Nike.

Ascending as a priority at the Beaverton brand with his first signature shoe in 2008, Durant climbed the ladder at Nike each season through play and personality. It all exploded in 2010 when he opened the year with his whole roster in “Creamsicle” kicks, amplified to another level that August when he led Team USA to Gold in Turkey.

The success was christened in December when Durant formally found himself alongside Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as a member of the basketball brand’s Big Three.

Nike KD3 Christmas
The 2010 Nike Basketball “Stoplight” Pack (Image courtesy of Nike)

The 2010 Nike Basketball “Stoplight” Pack positioned LeBron, KD, and Kobe as the crème de la crème of personality-driven performance footwear. It solidified Durant as a priority for Nike’s broader basketball business for years to come.

“It shows that he’s arrived,” Charles Terrell, then Pro Basketball Nike Field Representative, told Nick DePaula in 2010. “It’s kind of his coming out party. It’s our way of launching him internally and saying, ‘Hey, he’s our guy, and he’s prominent on holidays too.’”

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Playing off Christmas colors and inordinate drive, the LeBron 8 V2 “Run On Red,” KD3 “No Yield For Yellow,” and Kobe 6 “Green Means Go” all added to the seasonal excitement by branding basketball shoes as a Christmas gift in an on the nose sense.

In reality, it was a two-pronged play for the best marketing company in the world. Not only would the NBA’s elite debut Christmas colorways on national TV, but fans could grab or gift the same shoes as a sentimental moment.

In short order, the shoes sold out, with KD’s Yuletide yellow pair appearing under trees and on courts around the globe.

Nike KD3 Christmas
The OG Nike KD3 “Christmas” (Image courtesy of Stadium Goods)

In the long run, it was a tipping point moment for a Golden Era of hardwood heat.

Although the shoes were meant to move, Nike Basketball likely didn’t expect that the coveted Christmas sneakers would hold the high ground in footwear folklore all year long and for decades to come. What they were acutely aware of was the momentum said shoes would start all season long surrounding signature shoes.

Basketball season was no longer tied to tryouts and summer camps. Rather, there were moments to celebrate all year long.

In a sense, the 2010 Nike Basketball “Stoplight” Pack set a precedent for aligning athletes on All-Star activations, Black History Month makeups, Easter iterations, and countless colorways for years to come.

For the first time since the mid-90s, Nike Basketball had the market in an absolute chokehold. The front half of the 2010s saw the Swoosh creating coveted classics that not only rose to the occasion on the court but created instant clout through casual crossover.

Over the last dozen years, the Nike KD3 “Christmas” has remained relevant and revered in OG form thanks to its rarity and aesthetic.

High-level hoopers on both sides of the ball — and in the tunnel — have dusted off the 2010 take when the lights get the brightest.

Household names from PJ Tucker to Tyler Herro have brought out original pairs to acclaim on League Fits and Kicks on Court alike. Each time a player pops up with the coveted KDs, those unable to pay resale rates or tirelessly dig in the crates start salivating over the chance of a retro release.

This holiday season, our wishes are granted as the Nike KD3 Retro “Christmas” will launch for the first time.

Following in the footsteps of the Nike Kobe 6 Protro “Green Means Go” — better known as the “Grinch” — the KD3 Retro offers a second chance at one of basketball’s best stocking stuffers.

Paving the way for nearly a half dozen “Christmas” KDs to follow, the “No Yield For Yellow” KD3 set the pace for Kevin Durant’s ascent as a face of the NBA and Nike Basketball — a mantle he’s held for the last 12 years.

Nike KD3 Christmas
Larry W. Smith / NBAE via Getty Images

In the time since the 2010 original, Durant has won two NBA Championships, two NBA Finals MVPs, and one NBA MVP. Off the court, he’s signed a lifetime contract with Nike and is already on his 16th signature model.

While his first Christmas Day Game positioned him as basketball’s best scorer and Nike’s new kid on the block, he’s kept that same energy every season since.

As this Christmas approaches, Kevin Durant is an early MVP candidate on the court and a major player in the sportswear industry in both performance and retro sneaker markets.

It’s all accolades and a status he carries at age 35 in Phoenix, starring each night for the Suns while moonlighting as a media mogul at Boardroom and executive producer for Drake.

It’s a life KD couldn’t imagine when dropping 44 points in his Christmas Day debut, let alone when opening up Christmas gifts as a kid in DC.

This holiday season is also a second chance on a Christmas classic most footwear fans thought would never return.

The Nike KD3 Retro “Christmas” is back now at select Nike Basketball accounts and on SNKRS.

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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.