The Dallas Cowboys are sitting at 6-2, tops in the NFC East, their best start in years. The Cowboys defense, which was terrible last season, is going through a renaissance, and linebacker Justin Durant is leading the way. In last week’s 31-21 win over the rival New York Giants, Durant notched eight tackles and forced a fumble.
For all of Durant’s success on the field, he’s a character off it. He shows off his shoes on Instagram. He has a ball on Twitter, interacting with fans and friends and offering commentary on other NFL games he’s watching—like chastising a St. Louis Rams cornerback for biting on a double move on Monday Night Football.
We chatted with Durant on his use of social media, how his shoe game stacks up against his teammates’ and why music is so important to him.
STACK: I can tell by your Instagram that you sort of have a thing for kicks. How many pairs do you have?
Justin Durant: It’s tough to count. I have three different places that I’ve got them. I have them in Dallas, I have them at a house in New Orleans and at my brother’s house in Atlanta. It’s hard to say, but I have probably 400 or something like that. I’m not a quantity guy. I’m more quality.
So how do you choose what to wear on a given day? Do you have your favorite pairs in Dallas?
It’s kind of mixed. I have a lot of everyday kicks up here [in Dallas], like shoes I wear more often. I have some shoes from when I first got into the league that I have in Atlanta. I like to go there and be able to pull something out that’s rare. For the guys that think their collection is better, I like to pull out shoes on Saturday nights just to let them know who’s running things around here.
Which shoes let your teammates know you aren’t playing around when it comes to kicks?
The Nike Air Huarache “Safari.” I’ve been on a Huarache kick lately. I’ve got the Air Jordan “Defining Moments” pack. I haven’t even worn those yet. I have these Air Jordan XI Lows from 2006. I also love the black and red Air Jordan VIs and the cement Air Jordan IIIs.
Your teammate Dez Bryant is sponsored by Jordan. Can you compete with his collection?
He probably has all of the [Air Jordans] that come out. He has some custom ones that he brought out the other day that—I can’t even lie—they were nice. He’ll pull out something every once in awhile that’s custom made, that’s dope. But I have some classic stuff, like some of the rare ones that he probably doesn’t have. He doesn’t know about some of the stuff that came out when I was coming up.
I imagine Tony Romo walking around the locker room in a pair of New Balances or cowboy boots. Does he have a sneaker game?
(Laughing) No, I haven’t seen Tony pull out any Jordans on me. He’s always wearing stuff to match those suits.
You’re big into music, especially hip-hop. How did that start?
Coming up, I used to hear it all the time in the house. I used to go to the record store and buy something that was coming up. I wanted to have a conversation with people about music I find dope.
You’re always talking about how much you enjoy music with “substance.” What does that entail?
Out of that class, I like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. I like Big KRIT a lot too. Wale, as well.
Let’s talk Twitter. You’re pretty active there, going back and forth with fans. Do you ever worry, given how so many athletes have gotten in hot water on social media, that it could happen to you?
Yeah. I do. I kind of said something a couple weeks ago that I got some backlash for. But if that’s your opinion on something, that’s your opinion. Everybody’s not going to agree all the time. There’s a whole lot of people in this world. You can’t please everyone. I like to joke, I like to have fun. Some people are sensitive, but it is what it is. I also have to remember that I represent myself, I represent my family and I represent the Cowboys organization. So I have to be careful sometimes.
Is it weird for you, after a game, to have people you don’t know yelling at you via Twitter? Is that something you’ll ever get used to?
I take it for what it is. This is a society where people can directly say how they feel about you. You got to have thick skin; it just comes with the territory. If I had a bad game or something, I’m not going to even get on Twitter. It’s just how it is sometimes.