The 13-time All-Star and lifetime Swoosh partner is celebrating his favorite art form in hip-hop on his latest KD15 signature sneaker.
In 1972, Nike released its first shoe in Oregon. A year later, hip-hop was born in the Bronx.
From the track to the turntable, the court to the park, the Beaverton brand and global art form have transformed pop culture in a parallel and collaborative fashion.
By the ’80s, LL Cool J and Biz Markie wore Air Jordans and Safaris on their album art. In the ’90s, the Air Force 1s were uniform for Jay Z and Nas with the Wu-Tang Clan getting its own edition of Dunks.
In product and advertising, the synergy was strong. KRS-One narrated brand campaigns while Shock G made cameos in commercials.
The two totems became even tighter in the ’00s as the Swoosh started commissioning The Neptunes and Just Blaze for songs, soon giving artists their own sneakers from signatures to SBs to PEs.
So in 2023, the same year hip-hop turned 50 years old, Nike had plenty of athletes and artists to pick from when it came to celebrating.
The top of the list? Kevin Durant: a hooper immersed in music no different than the brand itself.
“Just like these artists got basketball courts in their house, I’ve got a studio in mine,” KD told Boardroom in 2022.
Coming off the heels of a lifetime contract with Nike, KD leads the brand’s “50th Anniversary of Hip-hop” Pack with the final installment of his heralded KD15 signature shoe. Grand opening, grand closing, Kevin started his 15th signature sneaker run with the Producers Pack: a collaborative trio of takes made by 9th Wonder, Cardo, and Boi-1da.
Similar in style to his unreleased “Off-White” PE, this hip-hop homage is based in black with sail accents on the caging. Tumbled leather takes over the collar with tongue tagging speaking to the theme. Lastly, a metallic microphone hangtag pays tribute to the MCs that paved the way for expression and an industry.
The parallels between ball and music are not lost on Durant. The same dedication he puts into hoops he sees from his friends in the studio.
“Once you get in there and try to understand the process? You respect the artist even more,” said Kevin. “I’m working on some music, just having fun. It’s a hobby. You come to the conclusion that you can relate to [artists] more than anyone when it comes to working on a craft every day.”
Today, the Nike KD15 “50 Years of Hip-hop” releases at retail for $150. Keep it locked to Boardroom for more updates on the growing Nike x KD partnership.
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