PJ Tucker probably will not be wearing Kevin Durant sneakers for a couple of weeks.
Throughout the first round of the playoffs, Houston Rockets power forward PJ Tucker has cycled through a rotation of Kevin Durant sneakers from the last decade, breaking out a mix of both new and old.
“I’ve known KD for so long,” Tucker said. “We’ve been friends for years and I’ve always loved his sneakers.”
During the five-game series against the Utah Jazz, Tucker wore the very first KD signature shoe from 2008 to kick things off, then wore two custom NIKEiD colorways of Durant’s more recent KD 11 sneaker in red. “PJ” text could be seen along each heel, as trophy gold accents highlighted his team’s singular goal for the playoffs.
He also pulled out one of the rarest pairs of KDs made, an oft-forgotten green and yellow KD 4 originally made in 2012 for Durant’s mother Wanda Pratt. The exclusive pair in her favorite colors also feature her own “WP” script logo along the heel, in place of her son’s initialed icon.
As the Rockets and Golden State Warriors are set to face off in one of the most anticipated second-round matchups in recent years, Tucker is fully aware of what that means for his rotation of Durant sneakers, as he’ll likely be guarding him throughout the series.
“It’s over!” he declared via text.
His stash of KD shoes have already been left behind in Houston — his 16-pair travel bag for the Bay Area was equipped with a rotation of retro Air Jordans and Kobe Bryant models.
All year long, LA Clippers hustler Montrezl Harrell wore perhaps more total pairs and a wider variety than anyone else in the league, and he didn’t slow down during his team’s run against the Warriors. Wearing a total of 16 different sneakers in the six-game series, Harrell ramped up the frequency in the final two games, switching his shoes in all eight quarters.
For Game 5 in Oakland, he went through a trio of Allen Iverson’s Reebok series before opting to close the game in Kyrie Irving’s latest sneaker. During the final game at home, he wore four limited edition Nike LeBron sneakers, kicking things off with a LeBron 11 made only for James’ Saint Vincent-Saint Mary High School players, and later lacing up two additional SVSM exclusive colorways of the LeBron 15.
On the opposing side, Stephen Curry unveiled a themed pair of his Under Armour Curry 6 sneaker with a first-of-its-kind inspiration for his series. While his sneakers have often drawn inspiration from a variety of places, like his daughters Ryan and Riley, or a tattoo he shares with his father Dell, the hues of blue atop the Curry 6 were informed by his recent efforts to expand his off-court profile with an entry into Hollywood.
After launching Unanimous Media over a year ago, Curry’s production arm in tandem with Sony Pictures saw the launch of its first feature film, “Breakthrough,” during the series.
“To celebrate the film’s theater debut, we wanted to partner with Under Armour to create a shoe that was inspired by one of the more significant moments in the film,” said Jeron Smith, CEO of Unanimous Media. “One of the advantages of Stephen’s presence as a producer in Hollywood is using his holistic enterprise ecosystem to fuel each other.”
With icy blue hues and an ice crackle graphic along the toe and heel counter, the shoe reflects the movie’s story of how a family overcomes their young son’s near fatal fall through a frozen lake’s cracked ice.
For the launch of his own first signature shoe, Donovan Mitchell also turned to movies for added design inspiration, drawing from the Spider-Man franchise for the latest look of his Adidas D.O.N. Issue #1 sneaker. He wore a blue and red pair for the opening game, and then a Venom-inspired edition incorporating a teeth-like graphic along the heel, with vivid pink accents throughout.
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