Sneaker Culture in the Association – Part 4
QUEENS, NY – Sneaker culture encompasses everyday life. It’s composed of the music shared and consumed, elements old and new. Last week we not only explored Dreamville’s inception but also its connection to the game. Its brightest stars have always crossed paths whether on film, within music, or even on the court. The culture drives all forms of artistic expression and showcases unique personality. It influences camaraderie, leaves a message for the world to see, and gives room for memories to live free. The NBA has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to embracing modern culture and allowing its figureheads to be themselves. The public outspokenness is celebrated rather than censored. The NBA sent a letter across the league before the season encouraging players to be socially conscious, a quality trait that should be applauded. This has given players breathing space to express themselves freely on all matters important to them. The culture seeps into the game and the two will always coexist. Music, film, technology, fashion, social activism, and business are at the forefront of everyday dialogue. People are drawn to this game for its ability to transcend culture and emphasize common ground – truly progressive. Let’s revisit the last week in the NBA – more exclusive colorways and enthralling storylines.
Nike LeBron 15
The Narrative: The world remains on #LeBronWatch for another week. His performances, like moments past in comparison to other greats, fuel the story behind the sneakers worn on any given night. 44 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists on 58 percent shooting overall in the Nike LeBron 15. He is the only player in the last 20 postseasons with a blocked shot and go-ahead FG in the last 5 seconds of a game [as per ESPN – The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report officially stated the signature block should have been ruled goaltending]. The King is only 2 swipes away from being the all-time steals leader in the playoffs – Scottie Pippen currently sits at number 1. LeBron left a gaudy stat sheet eclipsed by a game winning three, reminiscent of the one he hit against the Orlando Magic in the 2009 playoffs. He’s lifted the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 3-2 series lead over the Indiana Pacers – LeBron-led teams 9-1 when this is the case. It doesn’t look like the Pacers will go down easy. LeBron is logging a ton of minutes on a nightly basis – 40.7 PPG on %61.4 FG pct. in three wins compared to 26 PPG on %43.6 FG pct. in losses.
Nike x Jordan Brand
The Narrative: Scary hours up north continues – the Toronto Raptors are looking to close the series against the Washington Wizards after going up 3-2 in the series. Drake and John Wall continue to jaw at one another, while DeRozan lights up the Wizards’ defense. He continues to dig deep in his Kobe crates, pulling out the Kobe 9 Elite from 2014. The Raptors finished the game on a 26-11 run, improving to 5-1 under Coach Casey’s direction in game 5s. The Wizards offense came to a complete standstill, not scoring the ball for a runtime of almost 4 minutes at the end of the 4th quarter. DeRozan finished the game with 32 points, 5 assists, on 75 percent shooting from three, and 50 percent shooting overall. Despite the first-round struggles highlighted by OTG’s Dennis Dow, the Thunder dismantled the Jazz defense in the second half of game 5. The Brodie and Playoff P rallied to avoid elimination. The pair combined for 79 points, becoming the 5th team in the last 20 seasons to overcome a 25-point deficit to win a playoff game. The Utah Jazz remain favorites for the series, as NBA pundits and fans alike are nonbelievers in Westbrook’s play. His signature hasn’t made waves across the league although notorious for his fashion etiquette. They might be more familiar to high school and collegiate ranks, more so high-level camps. The PG signature shoe series has been an early hit. Custom PE exclusives and signature colorways can be seen throughout the association almost every night – Jayson Taytum and Brandon Jennings sport pairs consistently.
The Narrative: Great minds think alike. Jordan’s will always be a staple of the game. Lance Stephenson laced up the Air Jordan XI “Columbia”, while PJ Tucker threw on a custom pair of Air Jordan XIs. Earlier this week, the Rockets eviscerated the Wolves – 50 point quarter, 100 points by the 4th. Only the second highest total for points in a quarter in postseason play. Harden also set a record for most points in a quarter with 22 points. The Rockets completed the gentlemen’s sweep, winning the series 4-1. James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capella could not be stopped. The future Hall of Fame playmakers toyed with the defense, the Wolves at their mercy. Rockets snipers have been ready and willing to shoot from all angles of the floor – relentless in putting them up regardless of how gauntly the percentage. They also have some bruising personalities between Trevor Ariza, PJ Tucker, and Gerald Green. Thankfully, the Rockets should advance to the Western Conference Finals at the very least – more exclusive heat from PJ Tucker.
The Narrative – Giannis Antetokounmpo declared he needed to be more aggressive scoring the basketball headed into game 6. He followed through in the Bucks’ 97-86 victory over the Boston Celtics with 31 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists. He had some help between Khris Middleton and young upstart Malcolm Brogdon – sparing 16 points apiece. We’ve seen some solid Player Exclusives in this series already. Kyrie seems to have given Scary Terry all the Kyrie 4 colorways while Taytum prefers the PG2. Giannis has worn the Kobe signature line all year, unveiling a fresh pair every night. The Nike LeBron Soldier 12 spotted on Eric Bledsoe is set to release next month at the retail price of $140.
Heavy Heat x Nightly Notables:
Photo Courtesy: IG – slamkicks (Nike Kobe 1 Prelude – DeMar DeRozan)
Photo Courtesy: IG – solecollector (Under Armor Curry 4 – Demetrius Jackson)
Photo Courtesy: IG – solecollector (WoW 6 PE)
Photo Courtesy: IG – brkicks (Air Jordan X “Shadow”)
Photo Courtesy: IG – brkicks (Yeezy 500 Desert Rat)
We Salute You – Meek Mill Returns Home
Photo Courtesy: IG – David Dow/solecollector
Meek rang the ceremonial Liberty Bell donning an Embiid jersey and the Nike Air Force 1 Low. The sneaker has been a true staple to the culture, music and basketball alike. Withstanding the test of time, it continues to fit right in at any given moment. Amid the world’s daily spectacles, we saw Michael Rubin, billionaire co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, play a pivotal role in bringing fabled rap artist Meek Mill home. Sitting with Lester Holt, Rubin discusses his overwhelming conviction to abide by his good friend. When asked why he should care about Meek’s story, he eloquently states, “The story is so much bigger than his life, this is about how can he be the symbolic change agent that was needed for major criminal justice reform – that’s why you should care.” Rubin and Meek connected about 5 years ago at All-Star weekend. While courtside the two began conversation and Meek took a deep dive into the business aspect of the game we all love. A light conversation yielded a genuine likeness and admiration between the two for years to come. While sitting with Billboard, Rubin explains – “He was so focused and you could see he really just wanted to learn and grow, and that’s the way that I am – I barely made it out of high school and I didn’t go to college.” Also a believer in directly facing consequences for your actions and mistakes, Rubin witnessed first-hand the mistreatment and unfair sentencing Meek received – ultimately landing him in Chester’s State Correctional Institution. He’s been caught in the toxic judicial system for a third of his life. Once convicted on gun and drug counts by a corrupt officer and facing more time by a judge notorious for manipulating technical violations. Fatherhood, motherhood, emotional wellness, and mental stability matter. Meek reflects on the psychological effects of his journey and his vision to serve as an agent of change in his community – driving the conversation regarding criminal justice reform and rehabilitation. Hopefully, he continues to follow through alongside his supernova influencers.
What did you wear this week? What did you hoop in?