The star forward announced on social media Sunday that he will switch to No. 7 after previously wearing No. 35 for the first 12 seasons of his NBA career.
He explained the decision in a statement posted via Thirty Five Ventures, his business venture with manager Rich Kleiman.
Durant wrote in the statement that:
“35 took my family and me from Seat Pleasant, MD and showed us the world. 35 allowed me to meet people that I never would’ve had the chance to meet, experience things I would never have had the chance to experience, and achieve things that I never would have been able to achieve. 35 allowed me to go to the University of Texas to play basketball, 35 allowed me to achieve my dream of playing in the NBA in Seattle. 35 allowed me to play basketball in Oklahoma City and form bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime. Lastly, 35 allowed me to go to the Bay Area and win two championships and form brotherhoods that no time or distance will ever break. 35 was chosen in honor of someone very near and dear to me. I will always honor him and honor the number 35. But as I start this new chapter in my basketball life, the number I’ll be wearing on my back is the number 7 next time you see me on the floor. One time Brooklyn.”
Durant agreed to a four-year contract worth up to $164 million to play for the Nets after spending the past three seasons with the Golden State Warriors, winning two titles and being named NBA Finals MVP twice.
The Warriors announced last week that they will retire Durant’s No. 35.
His on-court debut for the Nets might not come until next season as he ruptured his right Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on June 10 in Toronto and underwent surgery two days later.
Durant, who turns 31 in September, finished the postseason averaging 32.3 points per game on 51% shooting from the field, 44% shooting from 3-point range and 90% shooting from the free throw line. He became the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game on 50-40-90 shooting in a single postseason (minimum five games).
He is a 10-time All-Star (winning MVP of the game in 2012 and ’19) and six-time All-NBA first team honoree and also won Rookie of the Year in 2007-08 and league MVP in 2013-14. He has led the NBA in scoring four times, and his current 27 points-per-game average ranks sixth all-time.