Leo Chang is the man behind Kevin Durant's signature line of Nike shoes. The company's basketball footwear design director has overseen all five versions, including the new KD V, which builds around the numeral five. Five players on a team. Five sides to the Pentagon, a major landmark in Durant's home area. Five points to a star, which Durant has become.
Chang talks about how the design came together.
I actually met with Kevin last summer. We actually went to his house, and I showed him kind of what I thought would be the design. I kind of sensed that he wasn't quite feeling it here and there.
It wasn't until a couple weeks later — it was LaMarcus Aldridge's charity tournament here in Portland that he came out for; it was during the lockout — that he was like ... “Hey, here's what I'm thinking. I want to switch it up. I don't want to go low-top on this one. I want to go more of a mid-cut. Then, I want the back air bubble in the back, in the heel. Then, I'll send you some images of some cool inspiration stuff.”
This was probably his first time really opening up like that. Each year, he just gets better and better.
He started out ... he was pretty shy and quiet. Now, he's definitely able to feel like he can tell me anything, whether he hates it or not. I actually really enjoy that — “I'm not feeling that direction but this other direction.” I really appreciated that. I learn more from that stuff than him just saying, “Oh, yeah, that's cool.”
Every year he gets more and more engaged and understands more about our process in creating shoes.
The first time we met him and gave him a pair of the shoes to try on was during the USA Team practice in Vegas. With all the media around and everything, he wasn't able to fully practice in team practice with it. It would've leaked. But he really liked the initial feel of it.
It wasn't until preseason practice that he really went all out hard in the shoe. He said, “So far, this is the most comfortable yet.” He didn't want any changes. Everything was good.
We were excited that he was just so happy with it.