What do NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bernard King, Bob Cousy and Connie Hawkins all have in common? The answer is quite simple. They were all born and raised in New York, also lovingly known as the mecca of basketball.
The city that never sleeps produces some of the best ball players in the world. And where basketball reigns supreme, the lifestyle and culture that come with it are never far behind.
This is where Robert “Bobbito” Garcia comes in. A New York legend in his own right, Bobbito originally came up as a NY streetball player and DJ, moved on to coaching basketball and eventually became an author (“Where’d you get those? – NYC’s Sneaker Culture 1960-1987“, “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture“). He is also a member of the iconic breakdancing group Rock Steady Crew and known as one of the world’s biggest sneaker aficionados.
As the ruling sneaker king in the Big Apple he has been the go-to-guy for numerous sneaker collabos in the past. But rarely has the fit been as natural as now. Puma Suede x Bobbito unites two New York city legends like never before.
Die hard sneaker fans know about the history of the Puma Suede. But just in case you don’t know here’s a quick rundown: When Walt “Clyde” Frazier entered the NBA in 1967 he was looking to have his own signature shoe. Something that was almost unheard of at the time. The Puma Suede came out a year later and Clyde fell in love almost immediately. The tough suede upper stepped away from the usual use of canvas and leather-based shoes. He signed an endorsement deal with Puma in 1973 and asked them to design a basketball shoe based on the Suede silhouette, just lighter and more flexible. The “Puma Clyde” was born.
Clyde Frazier would become a style icon and NBA star, winning two championships with New York. With 7 NBA-All-Star-, 7 NBA All-Defensive First Team selections and an induction into the prestigious Basketball Hall of Fame Frazier is widely considered to be the “greatest Knicks player of all time”. Clyde also helped to change the sneaker landscape, making them fashionable and wearable off the court. The Suede and The Clyde became New York household names just like “Madison Square Garden” and “Central Park”.
The 1980s saw breakdancing and hip hop emerge. B-Boy culture became a trend and The Suede was one of the preferred shoes in that scene. But its success carried forth way beyond that. The Suede just had that straightforward and timeless look that allowed it to survive the coming decades. Today, The Suede is still one of the most beloved sneakers ever produced. If The Clyde and Clyde Frazier were a match made in (sneaker) heaven, then The Suede found its perfect ambassador in Bobbito.
The Suede is now available at KICKZ.com (order here) in OG Puma colors with Bobbitos signature stamped at the heel and “Where’d you get those?” embroidered at the insole.