Kevin Durant has studied all the greats, “from (Jean-Michel) Basquiat to a Dr. Dre to a Michael Jordan to a Jay Electronica.” He wanted to learn how they reached the achievement of “mastering their craft,” so he could use their strengths as inspiration in mastering his own artistry: the beautiful game of basketball.
Now, one of those inspirations, Jean-Michel Basquiat seems to be getting a nod by his apprentice in the form of custom alternate jerseys. Leaked images show the Brooklyn Nets 2020 jerseys draw inspiration from the graffiti work of the 1970’s artist.
In the interview with Forbes in which Durant spoke about studying pros in a range of artistries, he adds that working to understand others’ perspectives is a major key in growing your own strengths. “I just try to see what their perspective was and try to make it my own and do my own thing,” he tells Overtime CEO, Dan Porter. Of course, Jean-Michel Basquiat is one of the legends whose perspective he has studied.
Basquiat was born in Brooklyn in 1960. His life was cut too soon in August 1988, when he died in his Brooklyn apartment at age 27. Kevin Durant was born a month later, in September 1988, in Washington, DC. Though their lives never crossed paths nor did their timing overlap, the two show how to grow and learn from others as they became professionals in their fields.
Basquiat Crown Imagery on Brooklyn Nets’ Jersey
The crown, featured above the NBA logo on the black jerseys, is a signature icon of Basquiat’s.
“The preponderance of halo or crown-like imagery in Basquiat’s oeuvre asserts a spiritual aspect to the work,” an essay on the artist’s website notes. It goes on to mention that the crown is typically coupled with a human figure. On the jersey, the three-point crown hovers above the recognizable outline of basketball legend Jerry West in the NBA logo.
Furthermore, the website’s essay notes that the crown represents transcendence and a culmination of growth. “The crown hovering over manifestations of the temporal/phenomenal world signifies a ‘going beyond,’ or transcendence,” the writer says.
In addition, the colors used in the leaked alternate jersey are primary colors constant in Basquiat’s work.
Brooklyn Nets History of Honoring Legends with Special Jerseys
This is not the first time the Nets have given a nod to a local legend, though.
During the 2018/2019 season, the Nets released a custom jersey honoring Brooklyn rap icon Biggie Smalls.
Brooklyn Nets Biggie-Inspired Jerseys pic.twitter.com/nS9krLrFeL— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 9, 2019
March 12, 2017, following the 20th anniversary of Notorious B.I.G’s death, the Nets dedicated the game to the late-rapper with quotes and a banner to honor his legacy.
That night, with a score of 120-112, Brooklyn walked away with the ‘Victory’ (yes, that was the last song Biggie ever recorded). Now, following images of the Basquiat jersey, fans wait to see if there is a dedication to the artist, and of course, if the team leaves that night with the crown.