was a move he’s made a thousand times throughout his career, a crossover into a
drive to the basket. Only this time, on the biggest stage, instead of getting
to the rim for a layup, Kevin Durant pulled up, grabbing at the back of his
leg. While Serge Ibaka raced down for a fast-break layup that sent Toronto’s
fans into delirium, Durant sat silently on the sideline, feeling the back of
his Achilles. There were no grimaces, no swear words, just a silent resignation
and acceptance of the situation. He had just sustained one of the most
devastating injuries in sports. The Finals were over for him, and next season
was most likely gone, too.
Throughout the past year the basketball community has heard very little from Durant, save from the occasional video popping up on Twitter of him shooting around. He has stayed out of the public eye, grinding away on his rehab, trying to return to the peak of his powers. The time off allowed him to focus more energy on helping design the KD13.
LeBron, KD is the only active player with at least 13 silhouettes in his
signature line. Since the shoe debuted over a decade ago, it has steadily
gotten better year after year. With Durant beginning a new chapter of his life
in Brooklyn, it was the perfect opportunity to breathe new life into the line.
Last year, the KD12 made news when designers decided to stitch the Air Zoom cushioning directly into the shoe, so your foot is closer to the Air. This time, there was a need for more cushioning to help boost explosive movements. The solution was a double-stacked Zoom Air unit with the second bag placed under the forefoot. This maximizes the energy return you get when you push off the balls of your feet. The double cushioning reduces the strain on your feet, keeping you in the game longer so you can make those clutch plays down the stretch.
One of the most annoying things about a new pair of basketball shoes is the time it takes to break them in and get comfortable. To eliminate any break-in time, the KD13’s upper is made using minimal amounts of material so it’s ready to go right out of the box. Nike still emphasizes comfort by using lightweight and flexible materials to keep you quick on your feet.
outsole is also a stark departure from the 12. The non-marking traction pattern
has been replaced with a circular one similar to the PG 4. This type of pattern
was first seen on the PG 3 and received plenty of praise for how well it kept
its grip and how easy it was to change direction without worrying about
all these components coming together in one shoe it’s no wonder people are
excited about the April 17 release, which is approaching fast. Make sure to hop
on eastbay.com that day and get your pair.
At first glance, the KD X looks similar to its predecessor, the KD 9, but a deeper dive into the shoe reveals the subtle intricacies that make the KD X so innovative.
Durant’s 10th signature shoe marks a milestone. It’s been 10 years since a skinny teenager signed a deal with one of basketball’s most iconic brands. As Durant has grown, he’s continually refined his game, working to become as efficient as possible.
His signature shoe line takes a similar approach, consistently making subtle updates that allow Durant to perform better and better on the court. The KD X utilizes the best Flyknit construction to ever be on a basketball shoe – engineered specifically for the flexibility, breathability, and support a basketball player needs.
The Flyknit advancement mixes low-stretch, high-tenacity yarn at critical stretch points, as well as a high stretch yarn at the collar and across the forefoot. The combination creates the perfect balance of support and a sock-like fit that’s made with basketball in mind.
The unconventional lacing system is another standout feature of the KD X. Durant and Nike designer Leo Chang focused on the laces, noting that the laces are an often under-the-radar element of the shoe. The lacing system helps provide a snug, supportive fit, while the large laces provide a unique look that Durant loves.
Of course, a player with Durant’s explosiveness needs strong cushioning. The KD X carries over the full-length Nike Zoom Air unit that debuted in the KD 9, enhanced for added durability and refined for maximum impact cushioning, so that Durant can absorb contact and turn it into responsive energy.
The NBA All-Star Game is one of the greatest showcases in the sports world. The game’s best athletes put on a jaw-dropping show that includes a 3-point barrage, incredible passes, and huge dunks. Eastbay athletes strive to reach the big stage, and ten of our cover athletes were selected to participate in this year’s All-Star Game. Here’s a closer look:
King James is no stranger to the All-Star Game as he will be making his 13th straight appearance in the game and has been the game’s MVP twice. James earned his place in this year’s game with nearly 26 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds per game.
LeBron will be joined by his Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving, who is making his fourth All-Star Game appearance. Irving’s play jumped to another level during last year’s playoffs, and he’s picked up right where he left off this season with 24 points, six assists and three rebounds per game this season.
Golden State’s roster is more stacked than ever, but Stephen Curry’s play continues to amaze fans and opponents alike. As a key part in a deadly offense, Curry is averaging nearly 25 points, six assists, and four rebounds per game for the league’s top team.
Golden State’s newest Warrior has had no problem adjusting to his new team this season. Adding a whole new dimension to the Warrior’s offensive attack, KD’s averaging almost 26 points, eight rebounds, and five assists per contest.
Draymond’s stats aren’t as gaudy as some other superstars, but he’s the glue that holds together one the league’s marquee teams. Green does a little bit of everything for the Warriors with 10 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and one-and-a-half blocks per game.
Harden has exploded this season after taking over the point guard role for one of the league’s most improved teams. Harden’s always been a scoring threat, but in his new role his assist numbers are even more impressive. The MVP candidate is averaging 29 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds per contest.
Mr. Triple Double has had one of the best seasons in NBA history so far with 31 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds per game. Russ has been on a tear all season and after being snubbed a starting spot in the All-Star Game, it’s likely that he’ll make some noise off the bench this weekend.
Nike’s newest signature athlete is having another strong season for Indiana with 22 points, six rebounds and three assists per game. Getting your first signature shoe and your fourth All-Star appearance in the same season? Not bad, PG.
The Brow is having another monster year. Arguably the game’s best big man, AD is averaging nearly 28 points, 12 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. It’s his fourth straight All-Star Game appearance, and at only 23 years old, he’ll likely be playing in this game for the next decade or so.
John Wall will appear in his fourth straight All-Star Game this weekend. The point guard is putting up nearly 23 points, 11 assists, and 5 rebounds per game for one of the Eastern Conference’s best team. Wall’s flashy style of play is perfect for the All-Star Game, so expect some highlights from the former Wildcat.
Congrats to all of our cover athletes and good luck in the All-Star Game! Who do you have winning MVP honors this weekend? Let us know in the comments!
The beginning of a new season brings another crop of rookies eager to prove they belong amongst the world’s best players. Brandon Ingram, Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield, and the rest of the 2016 rookie class will step onto the court and play against today’s biggest superstars.
Everybody starts somewhere. The biggest names in basketball were rookies once upon a time, too. Check out how LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and the rest of basketball’s stars faired in their first career games. Who impressed, and who struggled?
Perhaps nobody faced greater expectations in their first game that LeBron James. He was just a few months out of high school, where he was dubbed ‘The Chosen One.’ James delivered in his first career game, scoring 25 points and adding nine assists and four steals, but it was a losing effort against Sacramento. James’ stat line is even more remarkable considering the media circus that was on hand for his highly anticipated debut.
Stephen Curry was solid in his opening game, scoring 14 points and dishing out seven assists, but his team ultimately suffered a one-point loss. Interestingly, the sharpshooter only took one 3-pointer in the game, and missed it. In fact, it wasn’t until his 10th game that he took more than three 3-pointers in a game. He finished the season with 17.5 points per game, while making an average of 2.1 3-pointers per game. Last season, he made over five per game while averaging a career-high 30.1 points per game.
After dominating the college ranks for a year at Texas, the 19-year-old Durant seamlessly transitioned to the league with an 18 point outing in his first game. He pulled in five rebounds, as well, but his team struggled and went on to lose by 17 points. In fact, wins were tough to come by for a while, as Durant’s team lost the first eight games of the season despite Durant reaching double-figures in each contest.
Despite being sidelined for most of his only collegiate season, Kyrie Irving was still taken with the No. 1 pick in the draft. Irving would go on to have a successful rookie season, but he struggled in his first game. He scored just six points on 2-of-12 shooting from the field, while adding seven assists. He went on to average 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per game for the season, proving that the first game isn’t always an indication of how a season will go.
Paul George also struggled in his debut, scoring only four points while missing four of his five shot attempts. George was largely a role player for most of the season, before being inserted into the starting lineup late in the year and into the playoffs. He finished the season with nearly eight points per game.
It’s hard to imagine now, but Kobe Bryant’s spectacular career got off to a rough start. The 18-year-old only played six minutes in his debut and missed the only shot he took. He finished the game with zero points, one rebound, one block, and a turnover. He averaged just 7.6 points per game in his rookie season, a far cry from the Kobe we would see just a few years later.
The Flash burst onto the scene in his first career game with an impressive stat line that included 18 points, four rebounds, and four assists. He was also a workhorse, racking up 41 minutes of playing time in his debut. Like his future teammate LeBron James, Wade also failed to come away with the win in his introduction to the league.
As an 18-year-old, Dwight Howard gave everyone a preview of what was to come by posting a double-double in his first game. He scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while also recording four blocks in a winning effort. Interestingly, the big man also grabbed three steals and two assists to round out a solid debut.
A 20-year-old Derrick Rose showed his versatile skill set and ability to run an offense in his career debut, scoring 11 points and dropping nine assists to just miss out on a double-double. He struggled with his shooting percentage, but his command of the offense helped Chicago score a double-digit victory in the season opener.
Kevin Durant is the hottest name on the NBA free agency market, and for good reason. He’s a 6-foot-10 scoring machine with a versatile skill set that perfectly showcases the progressive style of play that NBA fans have come to expect.
Durant’s game is at the forefront of basketball’s evolution. His latest signature sneaker, the Nike Air Zoom KD9, is designed with that in mind. The KD9 sneaker represents the mirrored evolution of basketball footwear.
Because of his versatility, Durant covers a lot of ground. He runs roughly four miles a game, adding up to approximately 15 marathons in a season. The KD9 is built to withstand that heavy workload, offering comfort, support, and responsiveness with the most advanced Nike Flyknit and Zoom Air technologies yet, meticulously modified to exact basketball specifications.
The shoe’s Flyknit upper features a distinctive honeycomb structure engineered for the lateral movements and quick cuts basketball demands. The material ensures lightweight flexibility and efficiency, without compromising on strength. The shoe also debuts a new Zoom Air unit after more than three years of advanced testing. It provides maximum impact-protection while increasing the bouncy feel that athletes love.
The KD9 was constructed to reflect the progression of today’s fast-paced, up-and-down game. The advanced technology equipped in the shoe was created for the new generation of basketball players, who play faster than ever. It allows an All-NBA caliber player like Durant to be at his best, but it’s also perfect for athletes of any age who aspire to be like Durant.
If the KD9’s functionality and performance-driven engineering haven’t sealed the deal yet, maybe the sleek design will. The Flyknit look has become incredibly popular, and the KD9 features vibrant, eye-grabbing color combos that will make your kicks pop.
If you want to play at your best, you have to look and feel your best. The KD9 ensures a sleek style to keep you looking good and all the newest technology to keep you feeling good.
The game is evolving. The shoe is evolving. Are you?