Golden State Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant has been making statements with his apparel all summer, and his Nike KD 10 Finals shoes, released Tuesday, keep up the conversation.
Last month, Durant released a new color for his KD 10s surrounded by red velvet cupcakes, a reference to the moniker given him by former teammate Russell Westbrook.
The new shoes also offer a message to Durant’s critics.
The insoles feature a series of critiques and names directed at him since he left the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Warriors in July 2016.
Lame. Doesn’t Care About Fans. He’s Changed. Quitter. Weak. Snake. Soft.
Arrogant. Choked. Pathetic. Loser. Bandwagon. Traitor. Cheater.
Overlaid on the list on one insole, in big, bright yellow font, it says:
On the other insole, overlaid on the critical words, are Durant’s stats for each of the five games in the championship series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the words:
The shoe was released online and quickly sold out.
“His move to Golden State, that overshadowed who he was as a player and what he can do. It’s nice that he’s getting recognized again,” Leo Chang, Nike Basketball design director, told ESPN’s Nick DePaula. “If you talk to him about basketball, he just talks about the ‘purity of the game’ and that flow. He’s getting that there. If you look at the way the basketball moves on that team, it’s very unselfish and everyone gets a touch. The guy with the highest percentage in their spot is going to get the ball.”
Last year, after Durant announced his decision to join the Warriors, Westbrook posted a single Instagram picture, a plate full of cupcakes, wishing everyone a happy Fourth of July. It was a jab directed at Durant. Kendrick Perkins used to refer to teammates as “cupcakes” when he perceived them as being soft, an inside joke that carried on between Westbrook, Durant and Perkins while they were teammates, with them routinely calling one another cupcake on social media.
Recalling last year’s feud with Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant has embraced the “cupcake” moniker Westbrook gave him in releasing his new Nike KD 10 sneaker.
“Cupcake” became the rallying cry for Thunder fans in Durant’s return to Oklahoma City last season, with fans chanting it while he shot free throws, cupcake shirts scattered all over the arena and one fan even dressing up in a full cupcake costume.
Durant got the ring, and this offseason was spotted wearing a hat with a cupcake (topped with a ring).
“It’s about basketball for him. The purity of the game, he keeps talking about it. That’s what people should love him for,” Chang said. “He’s out to play great basketball and get better as a basketball player, and that’s what he’s going to choose to do. Don’t hate him for that.”
ESPN’s Royce Young contributed to the reporting.