A wildly successful 2009-10 season saw the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder more than double the team’s win total to 50. Russell, Kevin Durant, and a rookie James Harden were ready to make some noise in the postseason. Due to the stacked Western Conference, the Thunder ended up as the 8-seed against the defending champs in the Los Angeles Lakers.
In that series, Russ happened to wear his teammate’s Nike KD 2, a budget-friendly model that featured Zoom Air in the forefoot and a midfoot strap that locked your foot into the shoe. The Thunder were similarly locked in 2-1 in the series, with the Thunder blitzing the Lakers 110-89 in game 4. This game really showcased the ascent of the Thunder, with highlights like Russ posterizing the much larger Lamar Odom.
The Thunder wouldn’t win another game in the series, but the potential was there for OKC to rise to the top of the Western Conference.