Kevin Durant and NBA 2K Shake Hands On Long-Term Partnership

HYPEBEAST spoke to the two-time NBA champion about his aspirations for the game’s development, his favorite player in 2K to play with besides himself and more.

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After being sidelined for the entire 2019-2020 NBA season to rehabilitate his torn Achilles tendon, two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant is on the precipice of his much-anticipated return to the hardwood. Basketball fans are eagerly anticipating the day they can witness his electrifying performances on the court again, especially since those very moments will involve him suited up with the Brooklyn Nets alongside shifty floor general Kyrie Irving. However, before Durant gets himself fully locked into the regular season, the perennial All-Star has swiveled to a slightly different venture: a first-of-its-kind partnership with NBA 2K.

“From playing 2K since I was 10 or 11 years old, to being on the cover, to now doing a lifetime deal, it feels like a full circle moment for me because I always wanted to be involved. The partnership is about capturing myself and my brand through a game that I’ve been loving since I was a kid.”

Forged with the long run in mind, this collaboration calls for the ultra-versatile Nets forward to be more than just another cover athlete or a player to digitally get buckets with — although you’ll still see these elements. Alongside his team at Thirty Five Ventures and his content platform The Boardroom, KD has intentions of touching on the development and creative aspects of the video game, as well as teaming up with 2K Foundations for court renovations and other programming to inspire underprivileged youth worldwide. When asked about the idea of taking on this partnership Durant says, “From playing 2K since I was 10 or 11 years old, to being on the cover, to now doing a lifetime deal, it feels like a full circle moment for me because I always wanted to be involved. The partnership is about capturing myself and my brand through a game that I’ve been loving since I was a kid.”

Season 3 of NBA 2K Mobile recently launched, and gamers can already see the fruits of KD and his team’s labor. From a UI perspective, the game now possesses an updated aesthetic and feel, and even features new elements such as the opportunity to obtain new legendary players including Manu Ginobili and Bill Walton. You’re also given the chance to show off your 1-on-1 skills in the King of the Court tournament. On top of that, the alliance also serves as a cross-promotional platform from a product standpoint. Moving forward, we’ll see rounds of in-game exclusive merch releases and gamer exclusive drops of KD kicks. The Durantula sheds light on the success of his KD 13 “Funk” colorway that launched as a gamer exclusive via 2K’s MyPlayer Nation this past April stating, “That energy spike definitely helped attract more attention to the shoes, so I think it’s a perfect place for cross-branding and cross-marketing.”

“It’s just about driving more energy to the game, I definitely learned about how many people are invested in this game, how some people actually try to make a living off of it and how much of an impact I can have just being a part of it because whenever I’m playing online, I just get a lot of engagement.”

Currently, KD has a handful of outlets in which he expresses himself creatively such as his newly-launched “ETC” podcast with featured guests like new teammate Kyrie Irving and hit record producer Noah “40” Shebib, his signature line with Nike and more. However, when inquiring about his learnings about the process of diving deeper into the gaming space, the Washington D.C. native mentions, “It’s just about driving more energy to the game, I definitely learned about how many people are invested in this game, how some people actually try to make a living off of it and how much of an impact I can have just being a part of it because whenever I’m playing online, I just get a lot of engagement.” For a player who essentially grew up with the game and spends much of his down time dominating with the unguardable Giannis Antetokounmpo — his favorite player to play with besides himself — online, the pairing is a perfect match.

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