Below, a closer look at KD's Zoom Hyperfuse:
Interview: Kevin Durant Talks Sneakers [Part 2/2]
Find out why KD originally signed with Nike, what it's like to have other NBA players wear his signature shoe and why he plans to win H.O.R.S.E. for at least the next decade.
words & images_Nick DePaula Following up on Part 1 of our interview with Kevin Durant, held last week in New York at the World Basketball Festival press event, KD discusses why he originally signed with Nike, how he works with Nike's designers and how he plans to win H.O.R.S.E. for at least the next decade. It's worth noting how commendable his decision to sign with Nike actually was. After adidas offered a contract worth $70 Million over seven years, with a $12 Million signing bonus, Durant eventually signed with Nike for less, inking a deal worth $60 Million over the same number of years, with "just" a $10 Million signing bonus. If you weren't already a fan of KD's, hearing him break down why his career is "bigger than money" should earn your respect. Nick DePaula: When you were coming out of Texas, both Nike and adidas were going pretty hard after you, and it was even reported that adidas offered more money. What made you want to sign with Nike and how's that relationship been so far? Kevin Durant: Ah man, that's the first time I've gotten that question. [laughs] I was just more comfortable with Nike, and I'd been wearing [Nike] since high school. I just wanted something that I really liked playing in. With me, this whole basketball thing, it's bigger than money for me, so it's easy for me to say that I could've went to another company because they offered more money, but I want to be comfortable and be wearing a shoe that I like. Nike was the best fit, and it was an easy choice for me. Media: How much have you been wearing the Hyperfuses, and what's your early feedback? I got them right before the Playoffs, and I was going to wear them in the Playoffs but I decided to wear my shoes instead. They're nice. They're light; gives you a lot of space and air to glide and move and jump as high as you can and run as fast as you can. It's a great technology in the shoe, and it's just a great idea, and I'm looking forward to wearing them in the World Championships. Media: And they'll do Thunder colors of the Hyperfuse? Yeah, they're doing Thunder colors, but I'm sure I'll wear my KD IIIs next year. [laughs] Media: How close are the KDIIIs to being done? They're done, and they're pretty nice too. They come out December 1st I think. Nick DePaula: Leo Chang is the designer of both your signature shoes and the Hyperfuse. Did you work with him on the Hyperfuse design, or was it just something you saw after the fact? We kind of had a meeting, and they said, "Here, wear these." [laughs] Leo is a great designer and he does a lot for the Nike brand and pushing forward with my three shoes now, and he's done a great job. Whatever he throws in front of me, I'm sure I'll like it. Media: How do you feel seeing other players wearing your shoes around the league, like Amar'e Stoudemire for example? I got that question on the plane the other day. [laughs] It's an unbelievable feeling. Like I said to my friend, it's like when guys would wear Jordan's shoes, and now guys wear Kobe's shoes, and to see a player really admire how your shoes are made and feel, it feels good. I can't really explain it, but it's a nice feeling. Hopefully guys will continue to wear my shoes more and more. Media: Have you ever played against a guy when you're wearing their shoes? Nope. I can't give them that much! [laughs] Media: How did it feel to see the KD II release in China and have a special overseas release? Man it's just such a blessing. I didn't really know too many people knew who I was over in China, or that they even knew who my team was. I was surprised. They really took to the shoe and they really loved it, and I just wanted to do something for them. Of course, they don't get to always see a NBA team or a NBA player up close as much as they'd like, so I tried to give them something, and they really loved the shoe and I'm glad I got the opportunity to go over there. Media: Have you heard anything about the security situation in Turkey, and do you have any concerns? Somebody told me a little about it, but I've got so much going on that I haven't read much about that. Now that it looks like I'm going to be on the team, I'll have to read a bit more into it. Media: With your offseason training, what's a strength that you're looking to refine, and what's a weakness that you're hoping to improve? Every day I work on my jumpshot. That's one thing that gets me through this league. Get stronger and be in the weight room. You may not see it, but I'm getting stronger. [laughs] My overall game. I don't work on just one thing, or say I'm only going to improve one thing this summer. I try to get better at everything and improve my overall game. Media: We've talked a lot about playing streetball and playing outdoors, can you talk about some of your greatest wars outside and how some guys that could've been legends in the league didn't make it? It's a lot of dudes like that in DC that could've been great, but one or two things may have held them back. I think playing outside made me into the type of player that I am today. You never wanted to fall on the ground, and you never wanted to leave the court on a loss. You never wanted to be the guy that'd bring a basketball, and everyone would use it while you just sat on the sideline. I didn't want to be one of those guys, and I always worked on my game and when I got out there, I started to get mean and that's how I developed into the player that I am today. That's why I continue to go back and play outdoors and get back that mean streak that I can hone. Tomorrow actually, I'm gonna be playing outside, and I'm just trying to work on my game. Media: What outdoor games or tournaments did you play growing up that helped you develop? A lot of 1-on-1. Full court 1-on-1! [laughs] I'd pretend I was Michael Jordan a couple times, or Vince Carter sometimes too. [laughs] I think that really did help, because I would go back and watch what those guys do, and try to do it the next day when I was playing 1-on-1 with my friend. Basically, I was watching film when I was younger, and slowly but surely, it kind of got into my game. Each player I was watching, I was trying to steal bits and pieces of their game. Media: Any playground H.O.R.S.E. when you were growing up? Oh yeah, and that's why I'm the king now. [laughs] I played a lot, and everybody played H.O.R.S.E. a lot when they were growing up, and that's a competitive game that I used to play. Nick DePaula: Are you gonna defend that next year, or is that something you're done with? Of course I'll defend it. If I win it every year, I'll be back the next year. I'm trying to get ten in a row. [laughs] I want to get at least ten like Bill Russell. Media: Where's your trophy? At home, next to the H.O.R.S.E. one I got last year too. [laughs] Media: Talk a little bit about playing your college ball at Texas, being drafted by Seattle and now being back in the Midwest at Oklahoma City, near Texas? It was kind of ironic that I went to Texas and I was able to land in Oklahoma. I get the best of both worlds though. I can walk around with my Texas gear on in Oklahoma and people still like me cause I play for the Thunder. [laughs] I visit when I have a chance, and I'll go when I have a chance to see Texas play Oklahoma and cheer my guys on. But I can still walk outside with my orange on. [laughs] Media: What do you think about Texas moving out of the Big 12? I hope not, cause that'd mean I can't go watch the [away] games. I'm sure wherever they go, they'll be successful. Media: This summer, there's been a lot of talk about Free Agency, and the Thunder have not been in that conversation at all. How much pressure does that take off of you knowing that your team is together and you don't have to worry about who may be coming or going? I think that's the greatest thing with us. We're a young team and I think we want to stay together for as long as possible. A lot of people are rumored as free agents even to come to us, but we have faith that what we've got now can make it far and hopefully win a championship. Whatever happens, we have a great front office, and everyone on our team trusts what they do 110%, so whoever they bring in is going to be a great fit for us and I'm sure will gel with us as a group. That's the biggest thing with us, is we want a guy that's going to come in and automatically click with us. Nick DePaula: You were talking about your teammates and how much you guys gel as a group. What's up with the Broingtons? That's a James Harden deal. [laughs] He's a great guy. James is the guy that brought everyone together. He's so friendly, and we love having him around. He helped our bond out as a group once he got here, and whoever we get in this draft -- I think we have two picks in the first round -- they're gonna really enjoy being around us, because we're a great group. Media: With all of the talk about Free Agency, are friends of yours asking you about it? Do you know the gossip? When I'm done, I'm gonna put a tweet out and tell people not to ask me about LeBron James anymore. [laughs] My grandma asked me about it! That's when I thought it was too much. Everybody wants to know. I told her I don't know. Either Chicago or Cleveland is what I've heard. She probably knows more than me.