Sneaker Culture in the Association – Part 3
QUEENS, NY – The NBA playoffs have arrived in grand fashion – or grand fashion. James Harden’s scoring tear has already extendo-clipped into the postseason. He tap danced his way to a 44-point performance in the Rocket’s opener against the Wolves. LeBron James couldn’t extend his 21 consecutive first round wins – snapped by the blue-collar Indiana Pacers in game 1. Lance’s theatrics are in full effect, already. The Brow, Jrue Holiday, and company seem to be too much to handle for the mama’s boys. Portland needs to win one on the road as they’ve already fallen 0-2 in the series. Kevin Hart is fully engulfed in The Process, although it only fueled Dwyane Wade’s late game heroics to seal a game 2 victory. Drake is giving John Wall and any Wizards player a hard time on the sideline as he continues to power speculation he’ll soon sign with Adidas. To paraphrase the great American philosopher, Jalen Rose – “You never get what you deserve, only what you have the leverage to negotiate.” Post season play is picking up quickly and we have you covered. Dynamic storylines, popping colorways, and exclusive sneakers hitting the hardwood on a nightly basis. Let’s revisit last week’s feet heat.
Nike LeBron 15
Photo Courtesy: IG – brkicks Nike LeBron 15 “Shox BB4”/Nike LeBron 15 PE
Honorable Mention – Nike LeBron 15 Alternative Diamond Turf/Nike LeBron 15 “Graffiti”
The Narrative: The world is still on #LeBronWatch for so many reasons. Despite his annual retreat from social media as playoff basketball ensues, Nike has continued to apply pressure in the sneaker world. Bron laces up a fresh PE every single night. The LeBron 15 “Shox BB4” takes us back in time to the early 2000s. It pays homage to Vince Carter’s reign in the league as a dominant scorer with unparalleled athleticism and ferocity. Gary Payton takes a seat while running his mouth as only he can. Half Man Half Amazing proceeds to soar over him in this vintage Nike commercial. It’s become routine to begin the weekly piece with LeBron’s reign. To begin the playoffs, he’s passed Michael Jordan on the all-time playoff field goals list – only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar remains in front of him. Bron is also the third player in NBA history to reach 1,500 career playoff assists. He breathes rare air accompanying only Magic Johnson and John Stockton. In other news, he and the Cavaliers redeemed themselves in Game 2 against the Indiana Pacers Wednesday evening. LeBron led with 46 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists. He set a franchise playoff record with 29 points in the first half. The King is leading by example, they head into Indiana with the series tied at 1-1.
Nike vs Adidas
Photo Courtesy: IG – brkicks (Nike Kobe 10 Elite “Five Rings”/Adidas Crazy BYW PE)
The Narrative: Scary hours up north – the Toronto Raptors are in rhythm. DeRozan led the Raptors to a 2-0 series lead over the Wizards behind an effort including 37 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. They set a few playoff franchise records too: 130 points in a playoff game, 76 points in the first half, 11 3pt FG in the first half, and 44 points in a quarter [Delay of Game Hoops]. Through two games Beal is scoring 14 points per on 39.3 percent overall, and 27.3 percent from three. Drake has been pacing up the sidelines, essentially a sixth defender on the court [pun un-intended]. Sporting Yeezy Military Boots courtside, Drizzy keeps the sneaker realm on tilt. Potential brand mate John Wall laced up his special PE of the Crazy BYW. A versatile sneaker, you wouldn’t know this was for the hardwood at first glance. Here’s a closer look at Nick Young’s details on his Player Exclusives. Adidas played both sides well with this fit. On the other end, DeMar remained true to Kobe’s Signature line by digging a few years back for the Kobe 10.
Honorable Mention: Air Jordan IX Space Jam/Air Max Dominate PE
The Narrative: Jrue Holiday is solidifying his case as the best two-way player in the playoffs thus far. Alongside AD, the pair have lifted the Pelicans over the Blazers – giving them a comfortable 2-0 series lead. AD played above the rim – 22 points and 13 rebounds. Jrue harassed Portland’s backcourt within the last two games, and he’s consistently in position to help the defense with active hands. As the primary defender on Damian Lillard, he’s contained the prolific scorer – 2 points, 0-8 FG, 0-3 3pt FG, and 2 turnovers. The Blazers are 6-24 (%25) in the series vs Holiday [ESPN]. Jrue’s performances as of late comes in the Nike Kobe 1 Protro series. Nike has resurged the series. Initially, Kobe was looking for his own signature shoe after sneaker free agency. Running through the Huarache series and Jordan PEs, he made history once he laced up the original Nike Zoom Kobe I. He secured his first scoring title, becoming the fourth player in NBA history to average 35+ points. The cherry on top would be the 81-point outburst Mamba unleashed on a helpless Toronto Raptors defense that season. Paul George laced up his signature PG2 Wednesday night. OK3 fell short in game 2 and has relinquished home court advantage. Playoff P had a monstrous opener with 36 points and career high 8-11 shooting from three. Donovan Mitchell has remained consistent. Despite the foot contusion suffered in game one – his foot caught under Brewer’s foot at full pace – he’s eclipsed Michael Jordan in his first two playoff games. With 27 and 28 points respectively, Mitchell’s 55 total points tops Jordan’s two-game debut in 1985.
Photo Courtesy: IG – brkicks (Air Jordan I)
The Narrative – Special Editor’s Note: Ibrahim Hamad – Dreamville President and co-founder – recounts the story of the label’s inception. Affectionately known as El Presidente, he and J. Cole were young college students navigating through the semester at St. John’s University. On a typical night en-route to a function he can’t exactly recall, Ib does remember Cole playing a freestyle over Grammy Family. The Kanye West/DJ Khaled collaboration from the mid 2000s, made popular when Hov freestyled over the beat as well. It was in this very moment, he knew they had something special. The relationship was birthed off genuine support. Ib spread word throughout Queens and the two began work on what eventually became Cole’s debut mixtape, The Come Up. Between New York’s moniker, City of Dreams and Cole’s hometown of Fayetteville – Dreamville came about. Its ethos is centered around ingenuity, remaining true to self, and mindfulness. When elaborating on Dreamville’s growth, Ib shares with Billboard in 2016 – “We just got more clear on who we were as a brand – [a brand] that goes out there and really touches the people.”
Forever linked to the game of basketball, Cole was a high school athlete himself while home in Fayetville. For the love of the game, he even spent some time as a practice player for the women’s basketball team while attending St. John’s. Also representing Fayetville, Dreamville-affiliate Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks recalls the first time he and Cole connected at the hometown skating rink. You could find a stealth Cole at NC State games, and now courtside as DSj soars over the NBA hardwood. Their relationship only solidifying as time transpires.
J. Cole made waves across the world this week, surprising NYC fans with a listening party at the Gramercy Theatre on Monday night. Similar to the madness of the Dollar and a Dream Tour shows commemorating The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights mixtapes, NYC stopped what they were doing and pulled up in droves. I was one of the lucky 600 or so to listen to KOD, Cole’s 5th studio album [King Overdose, Kids On Drugs, Kill Our Demons] before its worldwide release on 04/20/18. A mere 75 feet away, I witnessed Cole candidly address the crowd while Ib prepared to play the album a few feet behind. Long ways from freestyles in the car en-route to a function. Once the warm humor and pure exuberance subsided, the audience fell into a trance as the album pierced through the speakers. Heavy synths, lively 808s, and his raspy voice flows in and out of the music as Cole address the burdens of his soul. He’s never seemed more sure of himself, confident in the work he’s compiled in about two weeks’ time. Excited for what’s to come in less than 24 hours.
Heavy Heat x Nightly Notables:
Photo Courtesy: IG – brkicks (Air Jordan IV Cactus Jack x Travis Scott – PJ Tucker)
Photo Courtesy: IG – solecollector (Nike Kobe VII FTB – DeMar DeRozan)
Photo Courtesy: IG – slamkicks (Air Jordan XI Concord – Michael Jordan)
Photo Courtesy: IG – brkicks (Nike LeBron 15 Custom PE – Markelle Fultz)
We Salute You – Remembering Erin Popovich
Photo Courtesy: IG – bleacherreport (Coach Gregg Popovich)
Coach Pop has always stood for what’s right. He expresses what he feels, and consistently believes in making the right decision. He defends his players at all costs, simultaneously holding them accountable for their behavior as men and citizens of the world, before their performance. A boisterous personality complimented by cheeky humor, Pop always knows exactly what to say. He does not steer away from confrontation, or worry himself of political correctness. He often keeps it simple – a man of conviction, of the people, aware of the nation’s history and political climate. A true staple in the NBA community, its endearing to see the outpour of support in this difficult time. Erin Popovich – his wife – passed early Wednesday morning at the age of 67. She was fighting an illness over an undisclosed period of time. She is survived by her husband, two children, and two grandchildren. They were best friends and married four decades. The NBA family has poured their heartfelt sentiments to the Popovich and Spurs family. Although Coach Pop made clear he doesn’t want to serve as a distraction as the team faces an 0-2 deficit against the defending champion GSW, he is “overwhelmed” by the support and “very appreciative of the love that’s been shared [ESPN/Michael C. Wright].
What did you wear this week? What did you hoop in?
Olivier - @WhatOlivierSees