• Interview with Claude Johnson

Black Fives: Interview with Claude Johnson

Every year in February, Americans celebrate Black History Month to honor the achievements of African-American pioneers and role models. It’s become a tradition for the major sportswear companies to release special editions of their sneakers and apparel lines. For example, the release of Nike’s 2016 Black History Month Collection is right around the corner. But there are also other organizations who made the promotion of African-American history their year-round mission. The Black Fives Foundation is one of those.

The Black Fives Era marks the period between 1904 and 1950 – in other words from the introduction of basketball to African-Americans until the racial integration of the NBA. During this time period dozens of African-American teams paved the way for the ultimate success of superstars like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James. The Black Fives Foundation’s mission is to preserve and promote this almost forgotten history.

In 2015, the Black Fives Foundation started a long-term collaboration with sportswear specialist ’47 Brand. The first drop involved 7 of the hottest boutiques across the US who each took on the challenge to interpret one Black Fives Era team from their respective hometown. For this occasion we sat down with Claude Johnson, founder and executive director of the Black Fives Foundation to talk about the history, their work and the collection. Quite fittingly, Claude came out to meet us at our oldest store, KICKZ Monaco in Munich. You can now watch the whole 4-part interview on our YouTube channel (or simply below). Be sure to check it out! Not only is the history itself fascinating to anybody who loves basketball. Claude is also a great talker and we had a lot of fun doing the interview. Special thanks go to Wayne and the other guys at ’47 Brand who helped make this possible! Keep ballin’ and make history now!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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About the author

Martin joined KICKZ in 2013, the year of its 20th anniversary. Starting out on a small side job he’s been sucked deeper and deeper into the Kickz.com universe ever since. Also known as “Doc Martin” or “The Professor”, he’s a real smartass who drives his colleagues nuts on a regular basis. His wisdom is as magnificent as his beard, which makes James Harden look like an infant. And he’s also very humble.
Surprisingly, his favorite basketball player is not Dr. J but Penny Hardaway. Likewise, his favorite team of all time is the 1994-95 Orlando Magic squad who beat the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. When it comes to sneakers, it’s retro runners all the way. New Balance, Adidas, Puma, Asics … you name it. It’s safe to assume that there’s a connection between his love for 90s shoes and 90s basketball.

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