Seven Teams, One Mission: Conquer the City of Barcelona.
Last weekend, adidas invited us to take part in an incredibly exciting basketball experience. Barcelona was the destination, the Launch Event of adidas’ new performance machine on our schedule. The rally, designed for young basketball players, retailers and the press, kept us busy for two entire days. From our hotel – just minutes away from the beach, thus a pretty nice business trip – we were brought to several secret locations all over the city. From the Fira Barcelona to the Poble Nour Park and the Sant Jordi Club, adidas hoops took over Barcelona. Every scene had one purpose: winning the challenge and getting one step closer to becoming the conqueror of Basketball Barcelona. Accompanied by three young ballers from ALBA Berlin and Seb, our guy from the FIVE magazine, TEAM GERMANY was on fire to get things going.
Your rivals never rest, though. Young Creators from Spain, France, UK, Greece, Italy and the area of Central Europe (ACE) were all given the chance to participate in the treasure hunt and compete with peers from other basketball nations. Since the stars of tomorrow have been the inspiring target group of adidas’ new basketball shoe, the kids were #heretocreate. Three challenges had been set up to test the shoe, that let every single one of us hit the road and take the very next plane to sunny Barcelona: the adidas Crazy Explosive 2017!
Crazy. Explosive. Crazy Explosive. Not only the rally throughout different parts of Barcelona, but the performance shoe itself was crazy explosive as well. We had the chance to try the sneaker two weeks before it hits retailers and our feedback is concordant: this shoe is a bombshell. Stylishly bold, greatly performing and equipped with ground-breaking technologies, the adidas Crazy Explosive 2017 might be the rising star of performance sneakers. My small diary entry will take you on a plane with us to experience our unforgettable trip. Have I already mentioned that there was not only one but six rising NBA stars joining the event as well? See for yourself:
FRIDAY, JUNE 16TH
Dear diary, setting the alarm for 3 o’clock in the morning, I felt reminded of the past weeks and the lousy attempts I made to get up in the nights of the NBA Finals. Tonight, I truly had to get up because we had a flight to catch – no excuses this time. Departing at 06:30 AM, our plane catapulted us from foggy Munich to sunny Barcelona. Boost on the feet, we were ready to make the city our own. Arriving at the airport in Barcelona, the iconic Three Stripes could be seen here and there and hinted at other adidas allies. On our way to the hotel, we saw several streetball courts close to the sea and our excitement rose.
The KICKZ.com crew was in the city to meet retailers from all over Europe, see young talents of top basketball clubs, test the new Crazy Explosive 2017 and get to know the adidas hoops family – this was going to be a great weekend! Assumptions were made about which NBA player would show up tonight, but little did we know that six stars were going to appear on the Crazy Explosive Court tonight. After strolling along the beach for some minutes, we realized, it was not only going to be a great weekend, but a hot one as well. 30+ degrees and several streetball competitions on the timetable, this was going to be fun. Two busses brought the ballers and us ordinary mortals to Challenge number 1 at La Fira Barcelona. Located at the Plaza de España, the first event location was luckily indoors. Huge letters, forming the official campaign hashtag #heretocreate, were welcoming us to an installed arena worthy of the launch. And right there in the middle of it all, the illuminated All-White colorway of the adidas Crazy Explosive 2017 was awaiting us.
While we were focused on absorbing the surroundings, two pretty tall guys made their way out of the darkness. You could feel the entire audience – retailers, young creators, press and adidas staff alike – quieting when they realized Andrew Wiggins and Kristaps Porzingis were truly standing only meters away from them. Both players stole onto the court and the entire location darkened – except for the Crazy Explosive on its column. The entire kick-off of the launch gave everyone goosebumps – at least I was thrilled to see two rising NBA stars in real life. And gosh, Kristaps was truly tall… After both players inaugurated the event with two explosive buckets, it was finally time to switch on the lights again and grasp what we had just experienced. The next point of the agenda was quite a clever way to introduce the rest of the NBA squad. Retailers and press were given four facts of six different personas. Even the best informed NBA fans had difficulties bringing together the random descriptions and the different ballers. I mean, who isn’t a fan of J.Cole… not quite a specific fact. The little guessing game was soon solved and one after the other showed up: Andrew Wiggins (Minnesota Timberwolves), Kristaps Porzingis (NY Knicks), Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves), Jamal Murray and Danilo Gallinari (both Denver Nuggets) plus Brandon Ingram (Los Angeles Lakers). Since the adidas Crazy Explosive is a basketball shoe designed for different types of ballers, we were the lucky ones having a wide range of NBA star power amidst us.
Unfortunately, the stars seemed to be a little bit too – let’s call it “busy” -, so they left the location rather early. Unlike what some might have suspected, there was no game between the young creators and their idols. Rather, it was time for the youngsters to step on the court and create. Challenge number 1 was a shooting contest and all seven countries had three minutes to show who’s got the skills. Adidas made it a little bit more difficult for the contestants due to red shooting points appearing and disappearing on several spots. The different countries had quite some talents in their team, who soon set them apart from the rest of the basketball players. Remarkably good was Team Spain and Team ACE; Greek had a pretty promising player with Georgios Kalaitzakis, rising star from Panathinaikos Athen. Our german boys tried their best, but had difficulties getting in the game. As previously predicted, Team Greece and Spain were leading the tournament in points. France had a fantastic second round, hitting shot after shot. The audience was engrossed in the match and cheering for their teams. It was very impressive to see all these young boys challenging themselves and putting the Crazy Explosive to the test. After the first challenge, we headed towards the city center to enjoy the traditional Spanish cuisine. Tapas, white wine and reflective conversations about the first day in Barcelona were awaiting us. Let’s put it like this, the menu and especially the wine were very delicious. ¡Chinchín!
SATURDAY, JUNE 17TH
Saturday was going to be a very long day. Equipped with sunblocker, Adiletten and loads of water bottles after a night enriched with wine bottles, we headed to the second challenge. Close to the beach, the Poble Nour Park was awaiting us in an adidas Crazy Explosive take over. Two courts, pimped with yellow, grey and white details, were the venue for the 3-on-3 tournament. This was streetball at its finest – close to the beach, palm trees in sight, good vibes thanks to the adidas DJ and ballers everywhere. Especially the white colorway of the shoes was an eye-candy for us photographers when the ballers warmed up before the game. I can guarantee you, we were warming up as well, but only thanks to the sun. Crazy weather for the Crazy Explosive. The favorites of the first challenge marked their territory on these courts as well.
While most of the other retailers were hiding underneath the shady stands, our crew was finally given the chance to test the Crazy Explosive. Sadly, we couldn’t take the shoes with us afterwards, but the experience was worth it. The sneaker is crazy explosive indeed. Even if it takes a few seconds to slip in the comfy sock while water keeps on running down your face – once you are in the shoe, no one can stop you! The upper feels like a second skin, downright compression-like. Thanks to the high-end engineered Primeknit, the upper keeps you stable in the shoe while the wide sole helps you standing and landing stable on the court. The Boost cushioning is on point with this one again, giving you a comfortable and not too soft court feel. Considering the streetball court, it is hard to tell about the grip, but I’d say it will perform on the parquet just as fine. Breathability is a very important fact to have in mind, too, and Barcelona was the perfect spot to challenge the shoe’s breathable upper. The adidas Crazy Explosive 2017 easily passed the test!
After the team of Area Central Europe with their talent Sander Raieste – balling with sunglasses on, no commentary from our side – came off the court as the winners of the second challenge, it was finally time for lunch at the beach. Several sea food courses were rolled out for us and we were happy to flee the sun just for a while. It took quite a while indeed, since Spanish people tend to serve dozens of meals for lunch. Nonetheless, we had time to cool down, get our stomach full and have some more of the tasty wine. Thousands of calories later, we took the bus to the hotel and had an eagerly awaited shower. Dressed in the Three Stripes, we were heading to location number 3: the Sant Jordi Club, a “small” arena next to the huge Palau Sant Jordi, where the Dream Team consisting of basketball legends such as Jordan, Johnson, Bird & Co. made history during the Olympic games back in 1992.
MEET’N’GREET WITH THE NBA CREATORS
I still have to laugh when I think about the next bullet point on our To-Do list: the 360° photocall. Imagine seeing a NBA star for the first time in your life. Imagine them being kinda double your size. Imagine taking a photoshoot with them – not a regular one, a 360° shoot. While I was trying to cope with the fact that I just shook the (giant) hands of Brandon Ingram, the camera had already been surrounding us for the second time. Technology nowadays, way too crazy… a simple selfie would have worked just fine for us. We had the honor of doing this a couple of times with Ingram, Murray and Wiggins. We missed our fav player, Kristaps Porzingis, just by seconds, but that was actually the best part of the photocall. We saw him afterwards getting some buckets on the Crazy Explosive Court and jumped at the chance to get a normal picture with him. Maaaaan, that boy is super tall. And super friendly. He told me that I could get a picture with him, it would make only 50€ today. Such a down-to-earth and enchanting player compared to the other divas that were handled with extra care. Kristaps, you are a real dog! We brought one of the previous issues of the FIVE magazine with PORZINGOD on the cover with us and he signed it for one of our co-workers. You made his day, that’s for sure!
In addition to our photocall with the stars, we were able to sneak in the press slots of our guy from the FIVE. It was very interesting to be close to the action and hear Wiggins, Ingram & Co. talking about their off-season workouts, their goals for next season and how the Crazy Explosive will improve their on court performance. While Seb was professionally pumping the rising stars, another press colleague seemed to have had a little bit too much wine, seafood and excitement. He threw up seconds before his time slot with a NBA player. We were making jokes with him afterwards… just imagine your first interview with a dude from the NBA would start like this… what a legendary start of a career this would have been!
One of my favorite parts of the schedule included the adidas design talk with Brian Foresta, whom my colleague had previously met in Houston for the launch of the Harden Vol.1. The charismatic designer, who has worked for adidas Basketball for over three years now, gave us insights into the design process of the Crazy Explosive and answered all our questions with ease. adidas kept what worked in 2016: a comfortable full-length Boost cushioning and a sleek woven Primeknit upper. While this year’s Crazy Explosive maintains a very similar design, the sock-like ankle collar revolutionizes the entire basketball shoe business. Rarely has a basketball silhouette looked that stylish. According to Foresta, the biggest challenge of the shoe was to create an appropriate fit; a material had to be found that stretches but at the same time, melts the foot with the shoe. Even if it might get him in trouble, he told us that the laces might be redundant considering the fact that the Primeknit upper embraces the foot perfectly.
As Foresta promised, there is a lot to come for the next two years. His favorite basketball shoe of all time is the adidas Superstar, though. Interesting choice, but the designer made a juicy argumentation and showed his outmost respect for the shoe. The iconic rubber toe, surviving 40 years of sneaker business up until now, is actually the same kind of technology they are now trying to update at the adidas headquarters. Brian Forest and his team are already pretty deep into the third shoe of the Crazy Explosive and I am positive, this performance shoe will be even crazier explosive.
Read all about the interviews with the NBA stars in the next issue of the FIVE Mag.
THE CONQUERORS OF BARCELONA
After our little chat with Foresta, it was finally time for the third challenge. Next to the locker rooms, which had been designed solely for the interviews, the Crazy Explosive court was arranged for another round of explosive fights. The challenge kicked off with a Dunk Contest; every team sent their best dunkers to take up the fight for their country. The contestant from the UK had some serious dunking skills and won the competition. After a rather weak performance from the German boys in Round 1 and 2, we had no team to root for in the last part of the challenge: a 2-on-2 tournament. While Greek was struggling after two top performances in the first two challenges, ACE and Spain displayed their full potential. In the end, Team España took home the victory with one last powerful game – Santiago Yusta, Sergi Garcia and Jose Ignacio Nogues (all players from Spain’s top league ACB) are names to remember in the future. Georgios Kalaitzakis and his twin brother Panagiotis delivered an impressive basketball performance as well; Georgios was nominated the MVP of the second challenge and both Team Spain and the Greek talent received an award, a 1-year supply of adidas Crazy Explosive and a trip to an NBA game in the US. Too bad that we weren’t allowed to participate in the game…
Dear diary, dear adidas, the Launch Event of the Crazy Explosive was a blast. Sun, beach, basketball – the entire weekend was exactly after our fancy. Even if it was the first event for adidas Basketball Europe and there were tiny initial difficulties, we always felt in good hands. We are looking forward to the next launch with you, guys!
Five colorways of the Crazy Explosive 2017 and the Crazy Explosive 2017 Primeknit will release this July on KICKZ.com. Stay tuned and cop a pair, these super shoes are 100 percent worth it! #heretocreate