In the span of two years, Kevin Durant went from being the best player in the league, to not even being able to sniff the court. Uncertainty loomed over the Oklahoma City Thunder as Durant’s foot injury and expiring contract cast doubt over the 2015-16 season. The hiring of Billy Donovan and the emergence of Russell Westbrook further clouded Durant’s potential success with OKC. The shoes Durant wore during this pivotal season was the Nike KD 8, The shoe takes design inspiration from Durant’s interest love of sabertooth tigers, which Kevin had tattooed on his leg in 2014. The full-length Zoom unit that features ridges near the forefoot to make the area more flexible. The upper consisted of Flyweave, a lightweight material that’s stronger than a knit, and also allowed for prints (like the Aunt Pearl flower one seen above) to make the shoes stand out.
The heel cage notably features points that look like that of a sabertooth tiger, an animal that KD sees as a dominant force that devours. Despite coming off the foot injury, Durant did return devouring his opponents with highlight plays.
This includes two nasty crossovers on Kobe in a game for Bryant’s farewell tour season.
The crossovers were heavy this year, as KD tipped over Tobias Harris while hitting the game-winner against the Orlando Magic.
The foot definitely seemed fine after pulling off an in-and-out move that led to a rim-rattling slam on Chris Bosh.
Durant would finish the regular season playing 72 games while averaging 28.2 points a game.
Heading into the playoffs, KD would punish the Mavericks with another flashy dunk, this time a reverse jam in the first round.
After handily beating Dallas 4-1, Durant avenged the postseason series loss to the San Antonio Spurs a few years back by winning that series 4-2. After years of bad luck, The Oklahoma City Thunder were finally healthy and looked to reach the NBA Finals once more. The team standing in the way was the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The Thunder stole game 1 against the record-breaking 73-9 Warriors, while also protecting home-court to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The defending champs stormed back to take the next three games (the Warriors would infamously go on to blow a 3-1 lead in the following Finals series with the Cavaliers.)
Following the heartbreaking loss, KD was appreciative of everyone in the organization, while seeing many positives on the season for his team. Durant mentioned the word “we” quite a bit when referring to the Thunder, which gave OKC fans hope for a return to the franchise that Kevin has always played for. Still, the lack of a championship lingered in Kevin Durant’s mind.