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Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Ventures to Premiere New Video Series About Sneaker Industry (EXCLUSIVE)

Nick DePaula
Ally Pintucci

 

Kevin Durant and his Thirty Five Ventures partner Rich Kleiman are about to launch a slew of shows on their vertical Boardroom. Among them is the tentatively titled “The Sneaker Game,” which focuses on the $75 billion sneaker industry. Variety caught up with host Nick DePaula ahead of the show’s premiere next month.

First sneaker:

My first cool shoe as a kid was the Nike Air Thrill Flight. I was 10, and I had a $40 budget.

Number of sneakers you own:

Every closet. Every hallway shelf. Just stacks and stacks of boxes all over. My basement looks pretty much like a mom-and-pop stockroom. I’m usually hovering around 750-800 pairs, but I try to donate 55 pairs every back-to-school window to downsize when I can. Still, it’s entirely out of control at this point. I just keep telling myself I can’t cross four digits.

Most comfortable sneaker:

Any of the recent Ultraboost models are insanely comfortable. I usually cut the midfoot cages off and just kick them around as a slip-on. It’s an a-plus quarantine essential errand sneaker for sure.

Most uncomfortable sneaker:

The design of the Air Jordan 15 is polarizing enough to most people, but I always liked the angular lines and sharpness of the black-and-red colorway. Man, are they clunky though. They crease like crazy too. I totally get why most people think they’re one of the worst Jordans ever, because they didn’t get the performance or comfort right at all, unfortunately.

Weirdest-looking sneaker:

I personally love concept car looking shoes. Futuristic and loud can be fun, and I’ll usually break wild pairs out at the airport. Original Nike Air Flightposite 1’s always get an immediate reaction, and I love that they were Time magazine’s “Worst Design of 1999” when they originally came out. My go-to in recent years has been the Adidas x Rick Owens Tech Runner in black and white — the angles of the midsole are nuts in person.

Most expensive sneaker you ever bought:

When I was in my early 20s, I ate cereal for weeks straight for every meal after spending $2,950 on both the home and away “Oregon” LeBron 2.  Less than 40 of each color were made exclusively for the Oregon Ducks in 2005 — and they were also in my exact size 13.5. I missed two home basketball games in my four years at the University of Oregon, and have always thought the ‘Bron 2 is one of the best hoop shoes ever made, so I had to have ’em.

The sneaker you want but haven’t been able to score:

The Nike Zoom S5 in black/purple/white — Dawn Staley’s signature shoe from the late ’90s, Finding a women’s size 14.5 hasn’t exactly been easy, but I still search eBay every month just in case. Yes, even twenty years later. I’m also looking forward to seeing who gets the next WNBA signature sneaker — we’re overdue! 

How much you would pay for a pair of Vice President Kamala Harris’ Chuck Taylors:

I usually only collect P.E. [player exclusive] shoes or special- edition pairs that are in my size, but of course, it’d be easy to make an exception for a pair of Madam V.P.’s. I can’t even imagine how much they’d be worth though, because they’re an instant part of history.

How you put on your sneakers: on one sock and then one sneaker or sock-sock followed by sneaker-sneaker?

I have a weirdly specific routine where I put my right sock on first, then left sock, then right shoe and then left shoe. Although I almost never then tie my shoes.