Kevin Durant has worn the No. 35 for every professional and collegiate team that he has played for. It followed him from Texas to Seattle to Oklahoma City to Oakland. He is so entwined with the number that his off-court businesses are handled by a company he named Thirty Five Ventures.
But for the first time, Durant will wear a new number this season. He announced earlier in the offseason that he would sport No. 7 for the Brooklyn Nets moving forward. That was not a choice he was forced into, as No. 35 has not been retired by the Nets and was even worn last season by Kenneth Faried. Instead, Durant made the decision due to a desire to start a new chapter with the Nets. He explained as much after making that decision public.
For the first time on Thursday, Durant unveiled his new number, and new uniform, to the basketball world.
Durant will not be able to wear this uniform on the court for quite some time. As he is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, he is expected to sit out the entire 2019-20 season while he recovers. There is an outside chance he could return in time for the end of the regular season or the playoffs, but caution is the expectation for Durant and the Nets. He signed a four-year contract with Brooklyn this offseason, so neither side should be in a rush to get him back onto the floor before he is ready.
But in a season in which he will largely be unseen, this kind of promotional image is a reminder. The rest of the league knows that Durant and the Nets are looming. They may not be ready to contend for the championship quite yet, but once he is healthy, they are going to become one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA.