It’s always great seeing KD, especially when he’s surrounded by media and smiling. Answering questions with a laugh or a joke or even a high-five. That’s how he was over the past 48 hours in Austin during the KD 9 Launch Experience. The reason why I’m pointing this out is because over the past couple of years – starting with his “y’all not my friends” comment during the 2015 All-Star weekend – KD has developed a rep for not being too fond of the media, which is understandable when you hear some of the nonsense a lot of desperate for a headline newsmakers will ask him.
Sitting in a room at Stubb’s BBQ – a college favorite spot of his – surrounded by mainly friendly sneaker bloggers, influential instagram users and basketball writers wearing tank-tops instead of two-piece suits, KD gladly answered questions about the NBA finals, his plans to play in the Olympics (while everybody else drops out), being an “older” not “old” veteran and everything you would want to know about his new (strapless this year) KD 9 kicks and evolution of his signature line.
One of the most interesting questions asked was about that evolution and how it relates to the shoe’s rising cost: The original Nike KD 1, with Zoom Air Cushioning, were released in 2009 with a retail price of $88, and the latest, with flyknight technology, carries a $150 retail price tag.
“As humble as I can say it, I’m not a $88 player.” Answered Durant. “I’m an elite player in the league. I wanted everything to be affordable but I knew we had to sacrifice some stuff and I just wanted the fans and the brand to be patient with me and who I am as a player and the level I was trying to go to. With these shoes, you get it all for a nice price.”
His statement about the price, which is $30 less than the KD8, backs up what he said a few months earlier at the Innovation Summit
I always wanted my shoes to be affordable, but as I got older and my game started to change, I knew I needed a shoe to fit my game and there’s that compromise of going up in pricepoint. But now as you get into the KD 9, you get a $250 shoe for $150!
That’s a great bargain right there. You know last year’s shoe was $180 and there was a lot of technology in there, but for this one for $150, you can’t beat that. Nike did such a great job of bringing the idea and of course I was like “let’s do it”, so hopefully people love it.
The feedback from the selected group of media and sneaker aficionados at the KD9 Launch was overwhelmingly positive and considering people are paying over $200 for these on Ebay, it’s safe to say people do love it and are not having an issue with the price point.
KEVIN DURANT IN 2007
Here’s a nice supplement video to go with the one above. In this classic from 2007, a young KD, working out with the Blazers, who ended up drafting Greg Oden with the #1 pick, talks about being blessed, stealing parts of other players’s game and signing with a shoe company that will make affordable shoes. That company turned out to be Nike with a 7-year $60 million deal and a $10 million signing bonus, which was less than the reported 70 million with a 12 million bonus offer from Adidas.
When KD’s deal was coming to an end in 2014, Under Armour reportedly were willing to give KD up to $325 for 10 years but Durant declined and here we are 2 years later with the latest KD Nike shoes on our feet.