The NBA player's new shoe proves he's in on an inside joke. 

Elisabeth Sherman
August 30, 2017

Nike has teamed up with Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant to release a “red velvet” sneaker, according to an announcement from the brand today. "That’s a little random," you might be thinking. "Why would a basketball player release a sneaker that references a type of cake?" But the launch is a cleverly played nod to Durant’s unofficial nickname in the NBA, and a rebuke to former fans that use the term poke fun at the player.

Courtesy of Nike

Once good friends and teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant parted ways last summer, and not on the best of terms. After Durant announced he would be ditching Westbrook for the Golden State Warriors on July 4, Westbrook took to Instagram, where he posted a platter of red, white, and blue cupcakes—a subtle reference to the nickname for so-called soft or weak players in the league that had become an inside joke between the two former friends.

HAPPY 4th YALL....🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

A post shared by Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) on

Once Durant left the Thunder, Oklahoma fans began showing up to games in full cupcake regalia, sometimes chanting “cupcake” from the sidelines, presumably to get under Durant’s skin.

A seemingly unfazed Durant eagerly returned the jabs, though in a much subtler fashion, by once wearing a hat to a game embroidered with a cupcake. To that end, Durant always seemed to be in on the joke, and this collaboration with Nike seems to prove it.

The red and white shoe, which will be released on September 1 and officially named the KDX Red Velvet, is just another way for Durant to show the people who have been relentlessly taunting him since he left the Thunder that he’s still thriving. After all, a shoe deal with Nike likely means there’s a comfortable paycheck to go along with it. Plus, there’s the fact that the Warriors won the NBA championship against the Cleveland Cavaliers this year. Despite his detractors, Durant is enjoying his success, parlaying the once pejorative cupcake nickname into another victory for himself. Now that’s a delicious way to do business.