After inching closer to a championship, many pundits and fans alike had high expectations for the Thunder in the 2011-12 season. Even with Kevin Durant’s production staying the same, his key teammates in Russell Westbrook and James Harden continued to increase their points per game in the prior two years. In contrast, KD’s sneaker line showed incremental improvements but did not draw the buzz of Nike’s other signature athlete lines from Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. The Nike KD 4 changed that, with buzz coming from eye-catching colorways like the “Weatherman”, “All-Star” (seen above), “Aunt Pearl”, as well as the highly coveted “Nerf” collaboration.
The price tag increased ever-so-slightly at $95 (from $88), but the affordability still played a big part in the success of the model. The KD 4 continued to feature the lockdown strap last seen on the KD 2, and also carried over the low-top collar height and the Zoom Air unit in the forefoot. The KD 4 forwent the synthetic leather in past models for the more-durable Hyperfuse upper that also allowed the color designers to add new patterns and prints to the shoe like meteorological patterns and realistic pearls from two of the aforementioned colorways.
After debuting the shoe in December, KD would go on a tear with highlights galore against divisional rivals, and teams that previously beat the Thunder in the playoffs. KD would noticeably show up big against previous playoff foes, with the Dallas Mavericks getting the brunt of Durant’s stellar plays. One of Durant’s best buzzer beaters was against the team that eliminated OKC last year, with a catch-and-shoot three sinking Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavs.
The most success Durant saw in his OKC tenure happened in the KD 4, with Durant’s Thunder squad advancing to the NBA Finals, where they lost to James’ Miami Heat.