Last week, we were in beautiful Los Angeles, California, to take part in the Jordan Brand Media Summit. Jordan invited us to witness the unveiling of the 2018 NBA All Star jerseys for the ASG in LA and much more, including a presentation of the brand new Jordan Women’s line, Russell Westbrook’s new signature shoe, new versions of the XXXII and some highly anticipated heat releases. Exciting stuff!
So here we are in sunny Los Angeles. Our hotel is located right next to the Staples Center, home of the Lakers & Clippers (and the LA Kings of course), so we obviously have to get some tickets to a game. I mean, when in LA… Wednesday night, it’s the Clippers against the Celtics, boom! Another KICKZ field trip, another Kyrie game! 😉
Surprisingly, when we arrived at the arena, the most worn jersey is green and has number 11 on it. Kyrie fans everywhere! I’m rooting for the home team though… What we didn’t know then, this was one of Blake Griffin’s last games for the Clips. Face of the Franchise for 7 years, NBA Slam Dunk Champ, Lob City, that’s all in the past now… He did have a solid game and put up 23 points, but unfortunately, it was not the Blake we were hoping for with his signature superhuman dunks. Good luck in Motor City, BG! The game itself was alright, Boston was in control most of the time and really seems to be a legitimate contender this season. Kyrie, who had a well-balanced 20, 8 & 7, is the leader of this young squad in which everybody knows his role. They gon’ be tough to beat come playoff time!
Thursday morning, big things were lying ahead of us… But first we went to the famous LACMA, to shoot the Air Jordan 1 ‘City of Flight’ in front of this spectacular location that you all know from your favorite romantic comedies. 🙂 A forest of a thousand street lights, that’s what this art installation feels like. The pics came out perfectly, but see for yourselves… Now we were ready for showtime!
FUTURE OF FLIGHT
And showtime it was… We arrived at the CBS Studios along with media from all across the globe. From influencers and YouTube stars to media outlets like Bleacher Report, SneakerNews or Complex, we were part of a very exclusive group of opinion leaders. Fully equipped, we entered the venue. Everything was set in a very clean and minimalistic style, with the Jumpman logo in the center of things. Black and white dominated the scene. We were told to take a seat in front of the stage. The back wall read “Future of Flight”. Five lounge chairs were arranged next to each other… Enter Kenny “The Jet” Smith, 2-time NBA Champion with the Houston Rockets and now TV analyst for NBA on TNT. Wow, that’s what I call a host for a Q&A. Then came the first guest… Spike Lee!! Are you serious?! One of the most influential artists of African-American and hip hop culture was just sitting right in front of us, sheesh! Not only is Spike Lee known as the biggest Knicks fan in the world, the filmmaker also has created the legendary Mars Blackmon campaign for the Air Jordan III. So it was only fitting that he took part in an event where the Air Jordan III was one of the highlighted products. The group was rounded out by Aleali May, Jordan Brand fashion consultant who is deeply involved in the Jordan Women’s line, Shae Serrano, bestselling author of books like Basketball (And Other Things) and Chicago’s very own, designer Don C.
The talk centered around the cultural impact of Michael Jordan and his shoes. Spike Lee emphasized MJ’s visionarism and how his sense of style and the beauty of his game were transferred from the hardwood to the streets through his sneakers. The Air Jordan can thus be seen as a piece of not only sports, but a piece of street culture or even global pop culture. Don C further added that Jordan helped establish basketball as part of hip hop culture as people wanted to “walk like a ball player and talk like a ball player”, just like MJ did. While this part of streetwear has largely been accessible only for men, 2018 will be the starting point of a new era, as Jordan Brand is launching its all new women’s line. Aleali May is glad that she is “finally seeing something for us!” The line already kicked off with the ‘Season of Her’ collection which was a great success. We’ll see what’s next…
After the interesting debate, we continued with the biggest moment of the day, the unveiling of the 2018 NBA All Star uniforms. They were presented in spectacular fashion, being brought down slowly from the ceiling. Here they were. Designed in the same simplistic way as the venue we were at. Black and white. A huge team logo on the chest. As VP of design at Jordan Brand, David Creech told us in an interview, the lettering on the back of the jerseys was inspired by the street signs of Los Angeles, which is the host city of NBA All Star Weekend as you all know. The jerseys are either black with white logos or white with black logos and unlike 29 of the 30 NBA team jerseys, they do not feature a Swoosh on the right collarbone, but the legendary Jumpman. Black and white plus the Jumpman, you can never go wrong with that! Finally some stylish and fashionable All Star jerseys again… It’s been a long time! Think about those horrendous sleeved jerseys, damn it…
With a new system in place, we will not see East vs West this year, but black vs white aka Team LeBron vs Team Curry. Can’t wait to see how this will play out!
As already mentioned earlier, the whole venue was dedicated to showcasing the newest styles of Jordan Brand and that was a whole lot, I can tell you! Apart from the huge All Star unveiling, the Jumpman’s main focus in the coming months will be on the women’s line and the highly coveted retro releases. The premier incentives for the introduction of a ‘female only’ branch are according to Andrea Perez, GM of Jordan Women, on the one hand that women have always been a part of the brand, but never had anything that was made especially for them and on the other hand that women also want that distinct Jordan feeling you have when you wear a pair of J’s and that is greatness. I mean I always feel super fresh in my AJ1s, but you get the idea… Apart from that, signature shoes also were on display, as they are Jordan Brand’s way to create future classics – the Air Jordan XXXII in dazzling colorways and Russell Westbrook’s first signature shoe, the Why Not Zero.1 . Check out the best of the best here:
That’s quite some heat for your feet, ain’t it? Get your pairs on KICKZ.com in the upcoming weeks!
And then, we witnessed something that I could have never imagined… We were live on the set of NBA on TNT! They were filming directly in front of us! Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and The Diesel, the most dominant center in the history of the NBA, the one and only Shaquille O’Neal! SHAQ!!! The first jersey I ever owned back when I was a little boy in a small town in Germany, was a blue Orlando Magic, number 32, O’Neal in size M 10-12. And now I’m standing here in Los Angeles as a 30-year old man, on the set of NBA on TNT, seeing him live in the flesh. Surreal! I was a little nervous as you could imagine… If you ever saw a person of whom you thought “damn, that guy is huge!”, Shaq is probably twice as big. I have never seen anybody similar to him. He cannot fit through your regular apartment door from his height or the width of his shoulders… a true GIANT! His son Shareef, who is one of the top prospects in basketball and will join the University of Arizona next year, was also there with his high school team and played an exhibition game. That guy is talented, and unlike his legendary father, he can really shoot the ball!
After gazing at one of my biggest idols for quite some time, my colleague and I both managed to snap a selfie with the Big Shaqtus, but we’ll keep that in our private treasure chest. 😉 The TNT crew closed their show with the world famous ‘Shaqtin-a-Fool’ sequence and our program shifted to one of today’s hottest rappers, Travis Scott! Cactus Jack stepped out on stage with more energy than Dennis Rodman and absolutely killed his performance which included two young fans being invited to the stage to perform ‘Goosebumps’ together with their idol… Travis Scott is for the children!
What a day! The new jerseys, unreleased shoes, SHAQ, Charles Barkley, Spike Lee and a live performance by Travis Scott… it doesn’t get much better than that! Until next time LA!