Back in the days of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, the idea of lacing up your rival’s shoes was probably about as appealing as picking up their dinner tab.
Now, it’s all par for the course.
According to a report by the Denver Post’s Christopher Dempsey, certain members of the Denver Nuggets have taken to sporting the signature kick of one of their supposed nemeses: the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant.
Some Nuggets players wear “KDs,” Kevin Durant’s basketball shoe, made by Nike. They’re stylish, and more importantly, comfortable, for the giant feet that slip into them each night and run and jump on NBA basketball courts.
Players like them.
Let’s get this out of the way first: Wearing a basketball shoe because of superior comfort is a pretty good reason to wear a basketball shoe—particularly in a sport where leg, ankle and knee injuries continue to curse even the most seemingly invincible athletes.
For his part, Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw just doesn’t see it that way, says Dempsey.
“I don’t think that I would ever do it,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. “Not in the game you’re playing against them."
Even if he Shaw wanted to—he only said he probably wouldn’t want to—he might not even have been allowed to.
I remember Nike would [sic] let you wear his shoes in a game. They only let him wear it. You could order them through your account, but you couldn’t wear them in the games.
According to Shaw, Nike wouldn’t even let you wear MJ’s game-changing sneaker. How Nike could even have that kind of clout—especially at that point in their existence—Dempsey doesn’t say.
Shaw recalls that, when while with Kobe Bryant during the latter's initial ascendance with the Los Angeles Lakers, he would mark opponents sporting his shoes as a psychological check mark in his favor.
When Kobe has become the elder statesman on the politics of NBA footwear, you know the times are changing.