Muhammad Ali – Unseen Photos

ESPN

‘The Greatest’ photos you’ve never seen

In this case, the iconic pictures don’t tell the whole story. Get a deeper look at the life of Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali’s death on Friday made the internet flourish with the moments that made him a transcending icon. Everywhere you turned, there were videos of his greatest fights, stories, anecdotes and memories of how he affected individuals and countries alike. And, of course, the photos that you’ve seen thousands of times before. The photos that you visualize whenever someone mentions the name Ali. The knockouts. The poses. The stare-downs. Those photos speak volumes and bring back an emotional connection that remind you of the life of Ali.

But you haven’t seen anything yet. This won’t be just another photo gallery of Ali. These are the moments the world might have missed.

These are “The Greatest” photos you’ve never seen.

Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, represented the United States in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. He defeated Soviet boxer Gennady Schatkov as part of his gold-medal performance.

Bettmann/Getty Images

Ali and daughter Maryum feed his 10-week-old twins, Reeshemah and Jamillah, in their Philadelphia home in 1970.

Bettmann/Getty Images

Young heavyweight fighter Ali, then Clay, is seen training at City Parks Gym in New York on Feb. 8, 1962.

Dan Grossi/AP Photo

Ali, then Clay, drinks at a restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1963. James Drake/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Muhammad Ali, exercises on a snow-covered road in Stateline, Nev., Nov. 18, 1972, as he prepares for his bout with light heavyweight champ bob Foster on Nov. 21. (AP Photo/Walter Zeboski)
Running on a snow-covered road in Stateline, Nevada, on Nov. 18, 1972, Ali prepares for his bout with light heavyweight champ Bob Foster. Walter Zeboski/AP Photo

(Original Caption) Boxing's flamboyant Cassius Marcellus Clay, sporting a porter's cap, mugs it up while showing his name on fight card to porter Herbert Sims here March 6th. Clay, a lad with a big punch and mouth to match, vows he will flatten his opponent, Doug Jones, in six rounds when they meet in Madison Square Garden here March 13th.
Ali, then Clay, sporting a porter’s cap, mugs it up while showing his name on fight card to porter Herbert Sims here on March 6, 1963. Ali vowed he would flatten his opponent, Doug Jones, when they met in Madison Square Garden on March 13. Ali won the bout by unanimous decision, and it was named The Ring’s Fight of the Year. Bettmann/Getty Images

Muhammad Ali prepares to throw his punch to heavyweight challenger Floyd Patterson with left to the neck before a knockdown in the sixth round of the single fight at Las Vegas, Nevada on Nov. 22, 1965. Ali won on a 12th round technical knockout. (AP Photo)
Muhammad Ali prepares to throw his punch to heavyweight challenger Floyd Patterson with left to the neck before a knockdown in the sixth round of the single fight at Las Vegas, Nevada on Nov. 22, 1965. Ali won on a 12th round technical knockout. (AP Photo)
American heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali wears a hooded sweatshirt as he trains in the early morning for his title defense rematch against Sonny Liston, Lewiston, Maine, May 1965. Ali won the controversial match with a knockout in the first round. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
American heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali wears a hooded sweatshirt as he trains in the early morning for his title defense rematch against Sonny Liston, Lewiston, Maine, May 1965. Ali won the controversial match with a knockout in the first round. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
Cassius Clay doesn't get much cooperation from a corgi, as the world heavyweight champion points to a ball while relaxing after an early morning run in London, May 13, 1966. Seated with Clay is sparring partner Jimmy Ellis. Clay will defend his title against British Heavyweight champion Henry Cooper on May 21. (AP Photo)
Cassius Clay doesn’t get much cooperation from a corgi, as the world heavyweight champion points to a ball while relaxing after an early morning run in London, May 13, 1966. Seated with Clay is sparring partner Jimmy Ellis. Clay will defend his title against British Heavyweight champion Henry Cooper on May 21. (AP Photo)

American boxer Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali) rests during training for the world heavyweight title fight against fellow American Sonny Liston at Miami Beach, Florida. Ali went on to win the match, making him world heavyweight champion for the first time. Original Publication: People Disc - HW0526 (Photo by Harry Benson/Getty Images)
American boxer Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali) rests during training for the world heavyweight title fight against fellow American Sonny Liston at Miami Beach, Florida. Ali went on to win the match, making him world heavyweight champion for the first time. Original Publication: People Disc – HW0526 (Photo by Harry Benson/Getty Images)

In this photo taken on October 19, 1974 shows US boxing heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali (C) (born Cassius Clay) is escoted at his training center 11 days before the heavyweight world championship in Kinshasa. On October 30, 1974 Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in a clash of titans known as the "Rumble in the Jungle", watched by 60 000 people in the stadium in Kinshasa and millions elsewhere. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
In this photo taken on October 19, 1974 shows US boxing heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali (C) (born Cassius Clay) is escoted at his training center 11 days before the heavyweight world championship in Kinshasa. On October 30, 1974 Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in a clash of titans known as the “Rumble in the Jungle”, watched by 60 000 people in the stadium in Kinshasa and millions elsewhere. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
5 Jul 1976: Muhammad Ali fends off a kick from wrestler Antonio Inoki during an exhibition fight in Tokyo, Japan. Mandatory Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive
5 Jul 1976: Muhammad Ali fends off a kick from wrestler Antonio Inoki during an exhibition fight in Tokyo, Japan. Mandatory Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive
Professional boxer Muhammad Ali getting a massage at Chris Dundee's 5th street gym while his chief of staff Hassan is sitting nearby during his training for the fight against Joe Frazier in Miami Beach, FL in February of 1971. (Photo By John Shearer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Professional boxer Muhammad Ali getting a massage at Chris Dundee’s 5th street gym while his chief of staff Hassan is sitting nearby during his training for the fight against Joe Frazier in Miami Beach, FL in February of 1971. (Photo By John Shearer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: Dual image negative strip shot of boxer Cassius Clay (L) aka Muhammad Ali. (Photo by James Drake/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES – JANUARY 01: Dual image negative strip shot of boxer Cassius Clay (L) aka Muhammad Ali. (Photo by James Drake/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

 

World heavyweight champion Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, naps on the shoulder of former champion Floyd Patterson during a press conference at which Clay announced that he agreed to defend his title against former champion Patterson.
World heavyweight champion Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, naps on the shoulder of former champion Floyd Patterson during a press conference at which Clay announced that he agreed to defend his title against former champion Patterson.
Professional boxer Muhammad Ali playing with a group of children near a grocery store in Miami Beach, FL in February of 1971. (Photo By John Shearer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Professional boxer Muhammad Ali playing with a group of children near a grocery store in Miami Beach, FL in February of 1971. (Photo By John Shearer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Professional boxer Muhammad Ali standing at a corner of the boxing ring during a practice match in Miami Beach, FL in February of 1971. (Photo By John Shearer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Professional boxer Muhammad Ali standing at a corner of the boxing ring during a practice match in Miami Beach, FL in February of 1971. (Photo By John Shearer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
photo prise en 1978 ? Louisville de l'ancien champion du monde de boxe dans la cat?gorie des poids lourds, Mohamed Ali (Cassius Clay), priant ? l'int?rieur de sa mosqu?e priv?e situ?e dans l'enceinte de son terrain d'entra?nement de Deer Lake. picture taken 1978 in Louisville of the former World heawyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali praying at his mosque at Deer Lake camp. (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
photo prise en 1978 ? Louisville de l’ancien champion du monde de boxe dans la cat?gorie des poids lourds, Mohamed Ali (Cassius Clay), priant ? l’int?rieur de sa mosqu?e priv?e situ?e dans l’enceinte de son terrain d’entra?nement de Deer Lake.
picture taken 1978 in Louisville of the former World heawyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali praying at his mosque at Deer Lake camp. (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Boxer Cassius Clay(Muhammad Ali) paces the ring after the crowd boos his win in a 1963 bout with Doug Jones.
Boxer Cassius Clay(Muhammad Ali) paces the ring after the crowd boos his win in a 1963 bout with Doug Jones.

 

MAY 21, 1966: American boxer and world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali throws a long right to British challenger Henry Cooper's injured left eye in the sixth round of their world heavyweight championship fight at Highbury Stadium, London. Ali retained his title after the referee George Smith stopped the fight shortly after the sixth round began, due to Cooper's eye injury. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
MAY 21, 1966: American boxer and world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali throws a long right to British challenger Henry Cooper’s injured left eye in the sixth round of their world heavyweight championship fight at Highbury Stadium, London. Ali retained his title after the referee George Smith stopped the fight shortly after the sixth round began, due to Cooper’s eye injury. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

American boxer Classius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) (center), dressed in a tuxedo, holds court at a diner with fans, friends, and admirers after his defeat of Sonny Liston, Miami, Florida, March 1, 1964. Photo by Bob Gomel/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
American boxer Classius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) (center), dressed in a tuxedo, holds court at a diner with fans, friends, and admirers after his defeat of Sonny Liston, Miami, Florida, March 1, 1964. Photo by Bob Gomel/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
American boxer Muhammad Ali has a shave at his home in Chicago, 1977. Ali was WBA Heavyweight boxing champion at the time. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American boxer Muhammad Ali has a shave at his home in Chicago, 1977. Ali was WBA Heavyweight boxing champion at the time. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Boxer Ken Norton playfully chases World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali in a game of tag across the field at Yankee Stadium. Norton lost the title fight to Ali at the stadium on September 28, 1976.
Boxer Ken Norton playfully chases World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali in a game of tag across the field at Yankee Stadium. Norton lost the title fight to Ali at the stadium on September 28, 1976.
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER, 1962: Cassius Clay, between training sets at the Main Street Gym preparing for his bout against Archie Moore, October, 1962 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stanley Weston/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER, 1962: Cassius Clay, between training sets at the Main Street Gym preparing for his bout against Archie Moore, October, 1962 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stanley Weston/Getty Images)

 

American boxers Muhammad Ali (left) and Leon Spinks at a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Midtown Manhattan, New York, December 15, 1977. They were there to promote their January 15 bout which Spinks would win. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
American boxers Muhammad Ali (left) and Leon Spinks at a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Midtown Manhattan, New York, December 15, 1977. They were there to promote their January 15 bout which Spinks would win. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
Boxer Cassius Clay later known as Muhammad Ali playfully hits The Beatles while at his training camp. From left to right: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison.
Boxer Cassius Clay later known as Muhammad Ali playfully hits The Beatles while at his training camp. From left to right: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison.
Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay predicts the round his bout with Charley Powell will end, while relaxing in his hotel room in Pittsburgh, Jan. 17, 1963. (AP Photo)
Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay predicts the round his bout with Charley Powell will end, while relaxing in his hotel room in Pittsburgh, Jan. 17, 1963. (AP Photo)
American boxer Muhammad Ali (right) (then known as Cassius Clay) winds up a punch during a bout with Charlie Powell, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 24, 1963. Ali won in three rounds. (Photo by James Drake/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
American boxer Muhammad Ali (right) (then known as Cassius Clay) winds up a punch during a bout with Charlie Powell, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 24, 1963. Ali won in three rounds. (Photo by James Drake/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
American boxer and sometime actor Muhammad Ali stands behind a podium in a stage costume surrounded by young people who raise their fists in the air as he performs an excerpt from 'Buck White' a Broadway musical in which he starred on an episode of Ed Sullivan's 'Toast of the Town,' New York, January 18, 1970. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
American boxer and sometime actor Muhammad Ali stands behind a podium in a stage costume surrounded by young people who raise their fists in the air as he performs an excerpt from ‘Buck White’ a Broadway musical in which he starred on an episode of Ed Sullivan’s ‘Toast of the Town,’ New York, January 18, 1970. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
Boxer Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) lifting his mother Odessa Grady Clay, in room at Carlton House Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1963. (Photo by Charles 'Teenie' Harris/Carnegie Museum of Art/Getty Images)
Boxer Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) lifting his mother Odessa Grady Clay, in room at Carlton House Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1963. (Photo by Charles ‘Teenie’ Harris/Carnegie Museum of Art/Getty Images)

 

Ali Big Fight BoxingOn Feb. 25, 1968, Ali addresses a gathering at a black Muslim convention in Chicago. This was a tumultuous time in the country’s history, and Ali spoke for what he believed in.

AP Photo

Cleveland Williams is sprawled out on the canvas as referee Harry Kessler sends Ali to a neutral corner during their heavyweight bout at the Astrodome in Houston on Nov. 14, 1966. Ali would win by TKO to retain his heavyweight title.(AP Photo)Cleveland Williams is sprawled out on the canvas as referee Harry Kessler sends Ali to a neutral corner during their heavyweight bout at the Astrodome in Houston on Nov. 14, 1966. Ali would win by TKO to retain his heavyweight title.

AP Photo

A close-up of professional boxer Muhammad Ali sitting in a couch during his campaign for the 'Fight of the Century' against Joe Frazier in Miami Beach, FL in February of 1971. (Photo By John Shearer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)A close-up of professional boxer Muhammad Ali sitting in a couch during his campaign for the ‘Fight of the Century’ against Joe Frazier in Miami Beach, FL in February of 1971. (Photo By John Shearer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

 

Comedian and singer Sammy Davis, Jr. gets some boxing pointers from Heavyweight Champion Cassias Clay (L) at the Majestic Theatre following Davis's performance in Golden Bay. Earlier, Clay had signed a contract for radio rights for his upcoming fight with Sonny Liston.Comedian and singer Sammy Davis, Jr. gets some boxing pointers from Heavyweight Champion Cassias Clay (L) at the Majestic Theatre following Davis’s performance in Golden Bay. Earlier, Clay had signed a contract for radio rights for his upcoming fight with Sonny Liston.

 

Designer Calvin Klein, model Bianca Jagger and boxer Muhammad Ali attending 'Valentino Fashion Show' on November 20, 1982 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)Designer Calvin Klein, model Bianca Jagger and boxer Muhammad Ali attending ‘Valentino Fashion Show’ on November 20, 1982 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

 

Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, right, eights a punch at former heavyweight champ Joe Louis during a break in Ali?s training on Sept. 23, 1976 at Kiamesha Lake, New York. Ali meets Ken Norton in a title fight on September 28 at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine)Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, right, fakes a punch at former heavyweight champ Joe Louis during a break in Ali?s training on Sept. 23, 1976 at Kiamesha Lake, New York. Ali meets Ken Norton in a title fight on September 28 at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine)

 

MIAMI - MARCH 1980: Muhammad Ali trains for a comeback at 5th St Gym in 1980 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)MIAMI – MARCH 1980: Muhammad Ali trains for a comeback at 5th St Gym in 1980 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES - MAY 1965: Boxer Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali, raising fist in triumph after beating Sonny Liston. (Photo by John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES – MAY 1965: Boxer Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali, raising fist in triumph after beating Sonny Liston. (Photo by John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali - Beverly Hills, CA 2002Ali poses in 2002 on the roof of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where he was staying with his family. Using the chair helped steady the hands of Ali, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease for three decades. “His hands were fascinating, punching so many opponents, so many times. The power of his fists, both literally and figuratively have left their mark in history,” said photographer Rick Chapman.

Kevin Durant on the KD11, His Past with Nike and Speaking His Mind

Slam Online
BY MAX RESETAR AUGUST 20, 2018

There’s a group of high school kids running full court at Nike’s NYHQ. A few of them are extra bouncy, winding up for one-handed windmill dunks and tomahawks that might dent the rim. Their coaches, who are only a few years older than them, are emphatically screaming over the music that’s playing, shouting out defensive instructions and talking a little bit of trash.

Kevin Durant’s off to the side of the court shooting the photos that you see below. He’s a two-time NBA champion, more than a decade older than these hoopers, with an Olympic Gold Medal and four scoring titles to his name. But he can’t stop watching the action. Every single second that he’s not posing, his eyes are on the court to his right. He’s not being a diva about it, either. He’s laughing and fooling around with our photographer, cheesing and mean-mugging. But this dude is legitimately obsessed with the game—that much is clear.

KICKS-21-Cover-IG-Durant

He stops for a moment to speak with the young bulls. “Y’all know me, I just hoop,” he says, almost like he expects the same from them. Just go and play.

He gifts the kids with KD11s and daps up a few of them. A little bit later he takes a moment to watch them get after it. He’s got this mini-smile curling up the entire time he’s peeping game.

On this day, it’s a month since Durant tore down the Cavaliers in a monumental Game 3 performance, capped by a clutch three-pointer from the left wing that effectively won the Finals. There he stood, for a beat. No smile. Centerstage with venom radiating off him. Eyes motionless. A cold-blooded killer.

Durant’s at the height of his powers and people are mad about it. Real mad. From talk shows to Twitter, there’s nobody in the League that receives the amount of hate that comes his way. And he knows it. He’s quick to snap on foolish Twitter users or ill-informed journalists, forever trying to guard himself against the hostility.

But there’s no denying his greatness anymore. It’s time to recognize: he’s one of the most gifted scorers the game has ever seen. And when he’s not being constantly attacked, he’s just tryna chill.

kd7

Durant’s friendly and a little quiet at our shoot. He’s being trailed by a squad of people but he doesn’t carry that hectic vibe. His energy is way more Cali than it is New York.

He has the KD11 in-hand and on-foot throughout our time with him. The Swoosh officially linked up with him a few weeks after he was selected with the second pick in the ’07 draft. He had been wearing Nike and Jordan Brand for years by that point. A two-high school product, he played in the Air Jordan XIV at Montrose Christian (MD) and then in the Jordan Melo 1.5 at Oak Hill (VA). He then wore the Nike Air Max Enforcer for most of his one season with the Texas Longhorns.

His relationship with Nike dates back to his time in Virginia when he met a Nike rep as a high school sophomore.

“I fell in love with wanting to have my own shoe, wanting to have my own brand and that grew for me as I grew as a player,” Durant remembers. “Once I got out of college I had a couple of options on the table and I was like, No way I’m going with anyone but Nike. Then as I got closer to being an NBA player, it became a reality and it’s just a dream come true.”

He’s one million miles away from that rookie who was wearing the Nike Air Flight School silhouette in Seattle. Now he’s a certified, first ballot Hall of Famer with two championships and the potential to add more. He’s evolved into way more than the bucket-getter he’s been since his time in the Lone Star State. His game has become fluid. He swims his way over to block shots from the weak side. He melts defenses, opening up passing lanes, distributing pinpoint passes from within the arc. He glides around the court, using that left to right crossover to sink opponents.

Then when it’s time to get points on the board, there’s no one better. Two-dribble pull-ups in the midrange, extended lay-ups at the front of the rim, fadeaways from the post, dead-eye accuracy on his catch-and-shoot three-pointers.

Durant’s got an arsenal that stays reserved for the elite. He’s earned his way to the top. One of his favorite quotes is “hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” And he’s building up his sneaker portfolio to match the success of his on-court résumé.

Kevin-Durant-Site-2-compressor

The 11 has a state-of-the-art design and it could become one of the defining silhouettes of the KD line. It features a brand-new cushioning setup that makes use of two different technologies. Leo Chang, Design Director for Nike Basketball, hit the 11 with the Swoosh’s React technology, Nike’s newest midsole foam, lighter, softer, bouncier and more durable than anything else they’ve put out. He combined that with a full-length Zoom Air unit, their basketball’s cushioning staple. React, shaping up to be a powerhouse, has only made it to the NBA hardwood in the 2017 Hyperdunk and the Jordan Super. Fly 2017, making the KD11 a pioneering sneaker.

It’s the type of innovation that takes some getting used to. Durant’s previous two sneakers both had similar midsole tooling, operating with Zoom Air units. He’s very particular about his footwear, often beating the same pair into the ground. He wore the “What The” KD10 for the last 11 games of the 2018 playoffs. So he was initially skeptical of the React and Zoom.

“I can’t lie, it was a little uncomfortable because for the last two seasons I wore the same kind of sole and it felt great,” he says. Both of those shoes also featured Flyknit uppers. “I’m comfortable in something I like, to stay candid. So when I first threw the 11s on, it took me a while to feel comfortable in my new ride. But now it feels great. It’s really bouncy, real comfortable when I throw them on. The shoes I had in the past, the reason why I stayed in them so long is that it would be uncomfortable when I first unboxed them and tried to play in them. I threw these on for the first time and worked out in them and they just feel amazing.”

Chang laughs when asked about KD’s first reaction to the 11.

“Definitely, he was a little skeptical at first,” he says. “It’s a fairly drastic change on the Zoom that we had on 9 and 10. So it just takes some time, but he loves it now.”

The rest of the 11 was also majorly switched up. The Flyknit pattern was updated to be plusher than the ones that appeared on the 9 and 10. It’s been built specifically for Durant with yarn that makes it feel like a down blanket. The silhouette was heightened, losing that low-cut that had been standard in the KD line since the 6. There’s a big heel counter in the back and a pull tab, too.


“It’s just centered around everything that goes into getting up and perfecting my craft,” Durant says of the 11. “I think just the mindset that I have as I look to get better as a player is what I try to tell through my shoes.”

Durant, on the low, has been interested in films and storytelling for a minute now. He took an acting class in college, had a digital video series during the lockout called “Kevin Durant’s 35th Hour,” starred in a feature film, appeared in a Nike Air Mag short video and now has his own YouTube channel. With everything that’s going on around him, with all the toxicity that follows him, the 29-year-old is trying to share his story, his way, through sneakers or any other medium he can.

“Different forms of expression have always been my thing and I think I say a lot about myself and who I am when I play, but it’s kind of hard for people to translate that into words,” he says. “I just try to give back stories and experiences that I’ve been through and hopefully it relates to someone and it helps. I guess that’s just my main goal out of everything, to always put back good energy, inspiring energy. Hopefully, it sticks.”

We ask him to share the story of when he saw his first signature sneaker.

“Man, Leo brought me a sample during my rookie season, toward the end of my rookie season, and I was pumped to see it, you know? Your first one, it always has to have that original Nike feel, the big Nike check. I feel like everybody’s first shoe is that basic and I saw mine’s and it was just the next one in line.”

There goes that little smile again.

“There’s depth there,” Chang says about both KD and his sneakers. “There’s that purity to his game. That pure form of basketball we wanted to capture. That purity with the simplicity.”


Durant hits up Dyckman Park when he dips from our shoot at Nike NYHQ. Basketball doesn’t get much more pure and authentic than the park. He gets a few shots up and poses for an endless stream of selfies when he arrives. Then he sits down at halfcourt next to Quinn Cook, his teammate from the Warriors, to catch the game. He stays seated for most of his time at the park but he pops up when a one-on-one battle gets heated. With each passing bucket, the crowd at Dyckman gets louder, hungry for another. Durant and Cook ended up on the asphalt by the time the back-and-forth isolations have stopped. The reigning champs leave a few moments later when the crowd has calmed down.

Durant hadn’t been to Dyckman since he played there in 2011, in the middle of the NBA lockout. He was touring the country that summer, playing in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Oklahoma City, Washington, D.C. and even going international, to China. He was lacing up the KD3 for a while that summer and then he unveiled the KD4, which many consider being his best sneaker.

The 4 just received a retro release, decked out in a Thunder-blue-and-white colorway, as part of the “Art of a Champion” pack. Chang plays it off when asked about bringing other pairs back.

“Our Nike Sportswear team handles a lot of the retro stuff so there may be some stuff in the future but you never know,” he says. “We’ll see. Honestly, I don’t know what their plans are.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Durant says with more enthusiasm. “I wanna retro the ‘Creamsicle’ 2s. Those joints were probably my favorite ones to wear and the color was just so dope. I wanted to see if we could throw those back out there. But we’ll see what happens.”

Durant posts a video to Instagram the very next day. He’s back at Nike NYHQ, in the KD11, getting his work in with Cook and Rod Strickland, who played in the League for nearly 20 years. Because through all the hate and the criticism, two things remain true. One, KD’s the champ until someone knocks him off the top of the mountain. That’s just a fact. And secondly, he’s obsessed with the game of basketball.

Hate all you’d like, but you’ve gotta respect it.

Max Resetar is an Associate Editor at SLAM. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram

Photos by Atiba Jefferson, Nike, and Getty.

Current vs. Legend

Basketball, and sports in general are debatable; in barbershops, gyms, cookouts, bars, etc. What I know is this in the Jordan vs. LeBron conversation is this. There would not have been a day where Jordan would have minded the competition of a 6’8″ guy and showing that he was the one that was it. He did it with Dominique Wilkins. The analyst want to make it seem as if they are just hypothetically speaking of now vs. then. They have made their choices.

My opinion isn’t based on numbers; it is based on the assassin’s mentality. LeBron doesn’t have it and it has shown repeatedly. Had those two matched up back then r place Jordan in this era he would still dominate the league. Today with the rules as they are he would be unstoppable.

Let the conversations begin.

This has been a post from,

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Cavaliers capture History for the city of Cleveland

The NBA finals were history making and a little of fairy tale. There were villains on both teams and darlings on both teams you had Draymond and his antics along with what Steph and the Warriors thought they were fighting the “Officials”. Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving did their jobs very well and at a high level too. It was the Warriors series to lose and lose they did, they made history all season long even in loss they made history. They were the first team ever in the history of the NBA to lose a finals series with a 3-1 lead on their opponent. The series itself was not that great though the way the game is played today is a little faster but more calls to get the offensive players loose to be able to score. Because that is what fans want to see is a high score, or so that’s what many of the spin-off shows sponsored by the league says anyway. The play was well a little more restrictive to me being a defensive minded player myself. That is why us older guys are not out there now. A lot of them are in a coaches’ role or some type of supporting role that gives the younger generation some toughness.

Hats go off to the Cavaliers for being able to pull something like this off. Coming from a 3-1 deficit against the team that won 73 games and only lost 9.


The Warriors though they have a tough summer to get through this year, to know that you had a team down 3-1 one and couldn’t finish them is really confidence drainer, even if you did win 73 games in the regular season. This was the time to show that you are the team to beat and rest on your regular season reputation. Everybody who has played basketball at any level knows that you have to take the wins no one gives them to you. They didn’t take what they wanted, Steph shot jump shots he has the same ball control as Kyrie but he didn’t use it. He could have gotten in the lane just as Kyrie did but he didn’t. When in the final series of the season all the injuries and everything go out the window. I know the organizations are worried about their stars but they also want that championship if their star can get it to them. The Warriors stars could have given their city another championship. I think they bailed on the hard work that it was going to take to get over the hump called the Cavaliers. It was almost apparent that as the Warriors got even the slightest lead in any of the games after the first two they were going to coast. I don’t think that was Coach Steve Kerr’s thoughts but the players other than Green yeah. Klay is too talented a player as well as Steph, the others in Igoudala, Barnes, Livingston, Barbosa all of these guys disappeared after the first two games. How can that be after the chemistry that was built all season long of playing together and getting other teams to play your way. They did push the tempo enough in games to get out in transition and make the Cavaliers chase them as they had made teams do all season long. This was not the team that everyone watched all season. I will not bail them out either this is their job to play at a high level for an entire season not just for the regular season. What a miserable end to a season that saw you guys make history.


Cleveland congratulations at making history LeBron made everyone believe that they had the magic ticket and they did against the behemoth machine that had been destroying every team that stepped in front of them all season long including themselves. The Warriors had a system but they bought into the Cavaliers system trying to play as they do but without the length. The Cavaliers capitalized on every mistake the Warriors made as they should have. I have to say as many others are probably saying this morning that I actually thought the Warriors were going to win the series. I really did but the Cavaliers proved they wanted it more than the Warriors did. LeBron and the Cavaliers knew all too well what the sting of losing felt like and they wanted no part of that again, like he said “This is finals whatever I have to do and however it has to be done, I don’t care” We won. You can’t say it better than that. Celebrate Cavaliers everyone will be chasing you next year. Every game in your arena will be like a playoff game it will feel great enjoy it guys.

Till next post, this has been,

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Warriors Green Suspended

This is what is on my mind about the NBA Finals. KiKi Vandeweghe a player from an earlier playing era, has levied a punishment on a player for reacting to something that no player in any league even himself would have allowed to happen to themselves. The rules are the rules I get that; we must also look at the aggravated behavior of what caused the action as well.

http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2016/06/12/20160612-gt-vandeweghe-green-suspension.nba/

LeBron James, Scottie Pippen and others have executed this move and had nothing happen to them throughout the history of the game. OK, so Draymond and LeBron are tangled center court, I am not sure if there was a pain-point in either of their shoulders during this all I know is Draymond went down. Now with this fall comes something so disrespectful to another player. LeBron steps over Draymond. When this is taking place Draymond acts accordingly. In the aftermath once all is said and done the criticism begins and not on the one who steps over the other person while mind you he is actually getting up from the floor itself. Patrick Ewing was still down. This guy was up on one knee about to stand. How is this OK?

LeBron says after everyone has seen what he did that he wasn’t trying to disrespect Draymond he was just trying to get back into the game. Yeah right, he knew what stepping over this guy would do totally. Kiki you did not do what correct for the play and you and everybody else know it. You made a company decision, that should have ended that night right after the play ended as it did that night. To me I don’t think the Warriors will fracture behind this but this is why it was done for TV ratings the more people watch the more money the NBA makes. I still think the Warriors win tonight. For the simple reason that they play basketball as a team. Not too much one-on-one play where one guy holds the ball for most of the shot clock and then passes out to an unsuspecting player on the same team and is expected to make or create a great shot. They move the ball around which causes Mitch-matches on the floor because of the chaos that the ball movement creates.

Cleveland fans I am sorry for your loss, my condolences. Just wanted to get that out of the way before tonight.

Till next post, this has been,
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Warriors vs. Cavs

Warriors vs. Cavs – Game 1

First I fell asleep on the game but awoke to find that the Warriors won without the outstanding play of their two stars. The bench mob as they like to be described came in and did their jobs. Lebron was and always will be Lebron but Kyrie and Kevin have to find their places in the game on the defensive end to make this a good series.

The Cavs played great against eastern conference talent that couldn’t really match them. Now though they are on the NBA Finals stage where to win it all you have to beat the best in the west as well. Well the Cavalier’s haven’t played well in the west all year-long. The games they won were nail biters, sure those are the games that bring team chemistry upfront in the locker room, but there has to be a total buy in from all involved. The Cav’s as long as they were tearing up the eastern conference looked like the eastern version of the Warriors. Now facing them the actual Warriors they have backslid to their old ways partially. I would love to see the Larry O’Brien trophy on the east coast again; however the Warriors aren’t going to just give it to them.

Stephen and Klay are two of the best in the NBA, with a bench that is down right awesome when at home. Stephen is from my area and I like the kid. He has moved to the west coast and become quite the player for the western side of the NBA. I like how the teams play in the final series of the playoffs. It would be great if that same play was exhibited throughout the entire season. I know it is a lot for them to do. Especially with the rule changes.

I think this will be a great series though. May the best team win.

Stephen Curry the man

As a basketball player he has a bit of magic with him. In this era that is being played today he is the embodiment of what the NBA has become. The last couple of holdouts have left or are leaving “Kobe Bryant” and “Tim Duncan” even Kevin Garnett. All things are about change even the NBA. If the game was still being played like it had been in previous seasons a lot of the guys that are headliners now wouldn’t be.

Curry however is a part of this era, his work ethic is great and he is being rewarded for it. I am sure his dad is very proud of what he has been able to accomplish but also as the rest of the basketball is doing thinks about how much the league has changed. Has the changes been for the better and not just because his own sons are slight of frame and able to benefit from the changes in the rules. Being a dad we can have rose-colored glasses when it comes to our kids. Having held a position in the same work place but at a different era we all know he reflects. The league just as everything does changes. Stephen though has transcended a lot of the boundaries that many never thought he would. His believe in himself and his creator is what I think gives him an edge. He met his wife in a Christian camp his second coach was a Christian minister from New York. Faith is all around him and what he does.

The NBA is not a workplace where not believing in yourself is going to be beneficial to you. I mean if you do have the utmost confidence in your own personal capabilities, you will still need a lot more to be a dominant force in the NBA. It is what you do with the dominance that allows you to be special. Curry could be arrogant, glory hogging, and self-proclaimed basketball god. He does not carry himself that way nor was he raised to be that man either. To be a smaller player and be considered a dominant player is where you know he has a little magic and a lot faith. I like comparing him to Allen Iverson. No they are nothing alike physically but their determination and drive and their belief in the creator are almost picture perfect. To be a smaller guy in the NBA you have to be special and give the glory to the father above and that is what both of them did and are doing. Curry has taken the league by storm and showing what having faith in Christ will do for you. He has to believe in his self we all do; but when we see the things that we are able to do and we know we didn’t do alone and honoring the one who has held your hand through all of it is the best reward any of us can hope to see as an example. There have been a lot of bigger and stronger players but not many that have humbled themselves or the humility of Stephen Curry. He doesn’t care about the accolades he cares about playing the game the right way.

I as a fan only hope that he continues the same practices throughout the rest of his life to be that light that Christ has asked us to be; to bring the most guarded heart to Christianity. He is using his blessings to show the power of Christ.

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March Madness Craziness Start Tonight

 

March Madness starts tonight.

Do you have your bracket or should I say brackets filled in? I have mine. Good Luck !!

Mine will probably be busted early hopefully not in the first round like so many other years.

Superbowl 50

Carolina vs. Denver

Pretty good game so far. Would like to see more of a running game from Cam to open up the throws that will open up the game for the Panthers.

Denver the Panthers have to control him with that smothering defense. He must stay contained if we are to win this Super Bowl.

I am hoping that they pull it out; That would be more than great for us in the Carolinas.

Till next post this is,
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NBA – Pacers and Wizards Game 4

The Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards are in similar place during their series.  They both have lapses in play and immature periods of just all out play ground play. Last night during the closing minutes of the game both teams had bone-head plays that made anyone that has played the game of basketball say WHAT IN THE HELL?

140511223305-paul-george-in-a-crowd-wizards_home-t3

Lance Stevenson grabs a rebound from a loose ball play and just launches it into the fray of players without even looking. He could have taken the ball up the court and ended the game by allowing the clock to run out. Instead the Wizards regain control of the ball and end up getting two fouls shots out of it. The last play for the Wizards was even worse it looked as if it was supposed to be a curl play going to the basket for Bradley Beal but the pass was thrown back and a Pacers player stepped into the passing lane. It was a good game just a horrible close and end to it for both teams.

 

I am happy to see that Larry Bird is mot chewing on his nails anymore at least until the next series.


Notebook: Pacers 95, Wizards 92

 

Ben Standig, for NBA.com
Posted Mon May 12, 2014 1:49 AM – Updated Mon May 12, 2014 1:49 AM

THE FACTS: The Indiana Pacers, top seeds in the Eastern Conference, now lead the semifinal matchup over the Washington Wizards 3-1.

THE LEAD: Paul George had 39 points with seven 3-pointers and 12 rebounds as the Pacers rallied from a 19-point, second half deficit for a 95-92 win over the Washington Wizards.

George and Roy Hibbert dominated offensively in the second half for the Pacers, who have won three straight after losing the series opener. The pair scored 43 of Indiana’s 57 points after halftime. Hibbert finished with 17 and George Hill added 15.

The Wizards led 57-38 early in the third quarter, but made only field goal over the final 7:50. Bradley Beal scored 20 points and Trevor Ariza had 16.

George played over 46 minutes, made 7 of his 10 shots from beyond the arc and took on the task of defending Beal.

QUOTABLE: ” Usually coach will take me out for a breather. I knew every horn that sounded wasn’t for someone to get me.”
— Paul George on knowing he would play heavy minutes

THE STAT: Led by John Wall, Washington had 18 fast break points in the first half, but zero in the second.

TURNING POINT: After rallying back from 19 points to tie the game at 74-74, the Pacers fell back 85-76 with 7:09 remaining as Washington’s bench took command. That is until George and Hibbert took it back, scoring 18 of Indiana’s final 19 points. George started the surge with back-to-back 3-pointers and his free throws with 1:21 remaining gave the Pacers the lead for good at 92-91.

QUOTABLE II: “It’s tough. We really did put ourselves in position to win. A play here, a play there could have made a difference in us winning. I guess that’s part of this team still growing.”
Al Harrington, who scored 11 points

HOT: The Wizards bench outscored the Pacers’ 32-2.

NOT: Starting center Marcin Gortat had two points and three rebounds in 21 minutes for Washington.

GOOD MOVE: Indiana coach Frank Vogel stuck with his starters as each member played at least 37 minutes.

BAD MOVE: Wall, who struggled with his shot throughout the series, passed on a potential game-tying shot in the final minute.

QUOTABLE III: “Their second unit came out with a lot of intensity which got the crowd going which you can’t [allow] on the road. But I thought our composure — we never panicked. …We know that in most cases we can just depend on our defense to methodically walk teams down, get stops after stops..”
David West, who scored 14 points and had eight rebounds

NOTABLE: Among those part of the sellout crowd at the Verizon Center, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and wide receiver DeSean Jackson. …Washington’s last home playoff beyond the first round came in the 1979 NBA Finals against the Seattle Supersonics. … Wizards forward Trevor Ariza went 4 of 4 from the field including two 3-pointers for 10 points in the first quarter. Through four games this series, he is shooting 12 of 15 overall and 7 of 8 from beyond the 3-point arc.

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Tuesday @ Indiana, Thursday @ Washington (if necessary) For the Wizards, Tuesday @ Indiana, Thursday @ Washington (if necessary).