If you were in Harlem yesterday, you would have seen the House of Hoops poppin’ like never before. At first, people were lining up for a second release of the Nike Air Foamposite One “Copper,” but the main attraction of the day was an appearance by Kevin Durant for the release of his signature Nike KD2’s.
The KD2 Creamsicles were lined up all around House of Hoops, and as readers noted when we wrote about the hardwood debut of the KD2’s in December, they’re real hard to miss. In fact, they’re so hard to miss, mothers should have been storming the counters to outfit their kids with the kicks that could double as safety reflectors owing to the 3M technology.
Kids from around the city were bussed over and came in rocking KD beanies and t-shirts that read “Broingtons.” The Broingtons t-shirts were all over the area where KD would appear, and before hearing that the t-shirts were pronounced “Bro-ing-tons,” I spent a good amount of time wondering what Broingtons meant, concluding (incorrectly) that it was a high school.
Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg was there spinning beats, and Boobie Smooth was there MC’ing to get the lucky fans inside pumped up. When Smooth asked “What did you think of the dunk contest?” everyone booed. Surprisingly, when he followed that question up with “What do you think of T-Mac coming to NY?” everyone booed just as loudly. He should have phrased the question ‘What do you think of Tracy McGrady’s expiring contract?” Maybe he would have gotten some cheers then. Right after, Smooth asked if everyone was ready for KD, and out came the Durantula.
To see him in person is to see a guy with a longer wingspan than a 747: you’ve never seen anyone so long. KD sat down and thanked the fans, and before going any further, Smooth announced that KD brought along some special guests and out came Jeff Green, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The fans went crazy.
Smooth proceeded to ask KD some questions and of course he brought up KD’s current streak of at least 25 points in 26 straight games which puts him in the company of Jordan and Iverson. KD addressed the streak by mentioning that it wouldn’t be possible without his teammates, and his humbleness and shyness became immediately clear. Smooth finally asked KD the question that was on everyone’s mind (or at the very least, mine): “Can you explain what ‘Broington’ is?” KD smiled and deflected the question to Harden, who came up with the term: “We’re always on the road chilling together, doing things together, and I just came up with a name for it.”
The foursome seemed to gel like LeBron and his teammates, and Westbrook confirmed this comparison when asked: “What’s your favorite team to play against?” Russell answered: “I like playing against the Cavs. We’re both young and athletic and like to run.” After this, Boobie Smooth presented KD with a unique pair of Nike’s designed for him with embroidered stars to represent his first All-Star appearance. Smooth joked: “If I see these up on eBay I’ll know who put them up there.”
After the Q&A, Smooth raffled off signed KD2’s, basketballs and t-shirts to the fans, and the fans got the chance to interact with Durant, Green, Harden and Westbrook. Harden, the most outgoing of the group, went over to the EA Sports station to play NBA Live 10 with some kids. It’s always funny to see players playing as themselves in video games, and Harden was ecstatic when he scored with himself, and he screamed “Dime!” as the Harden-controlled Etan Thomas missed an easy layup. When Harden tried to take a charge against a Knick and was whistled for a blocking foul, I half-expected him to scream “Donaghy!” Either way, Harden won handily and was loving every second of it.
Perhaps the most telling part of the event was the large Kevin Durant poster towering over the four Thunder players. Nike clearly has a way with marketing, and the image of Durant soaring for a tomahawk dunk tells it all: KD35 is next.
Note: Nike Basketball spread the word about the event through Twitter and if you’re not following @nikebasketball yet, get on top of it. This is the second event in the last month that Nike has run at House of Hoops, with Kobe making an appearance after playing the Knicks in late January. Nike first made fans aware of the event on Wednesday, and the first 35 fans to retweet “I want to see Kevin Durant at House of Hoops today” got a spot on the VIP list.
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