Last week Nike unveiled the 2014 All-Star Game editions of their most prominent signees’ signature shoes. That is to say, they threw some glow-in-the-dark soles on the LeBron 11, KD VI and Kobe 9.
Billed as the “Gumbo League Collection,” these limited releases were purportedly inspired by the host city. To be fair, nobody understands the fanfare and ornament of an All-Star weekend like Nike. It’s just that they lose a little bit of credibility when you can basically hear everyone working there go, “Um, I don’t know. Make it neon?”
The lengths to which Nike goes to justify this line of sneakers are tremendous. Every company needs a marketing department and there’s no doubt that Nike has one of the finest (see Mars Blackmon cross-over). So let’s just call the following descriptions released by completely objective news source nikeinc.com a misfire:
LeBron 11 Gator King
“Inspired by the fearsome alligator, the king of the bayou, the LEBRON 11 Gator King is a bold expression of royalty and power.”
“Gators, often a symbol of protection in New Orleans culture, influence graphic textures throughout the shoe. Invisible to the naked eye, hand-drawn patterns come to life as the Hyperposite bucket of the shoe glows in the dark.”
Secret patterns, ok? Glow-in-the-dark is as functional as it is fashionable.
“The musings of majestic color in deep purples, greens and gold are derived from the ‘Rex’ – king of carnival celebrations.”
The only thing those purples, greens and gold are musing is how to get off of this shoe OHHHHH!
KD VI Illusion
“Not everything is what it first appears to be in New Orleans. Similarly, Durant defies the perception of a near seven-footer – an illusion of sorts.”
No, not everything is as it first appears to be in New Orleans. It usually turns out that the seemingly innocent videographer who is paying you to party with him has ulterior motives. An illusion of sorts.
“His limitless scoring range is redefining the perception of a forward. Celebrating the magic of KD’s versatility, the KD VI Illusion showcases hand-drawn patterns on the upper emulating Durant’s fluidity on the court.”
I must dispute the claim that those squiggly lines on the upper are reminiscent of Kevin Durant on a basketball court.
“A glow-in-the-dark outsole also represents the ‘spark’ of KD’s game.”
Read: We just like putting glow-in-the-dark on stuff.
Kobe 9 Elite Maestro
“Nike Basketball pays tribute to the masters of Jazz in its birthplace.”
Well, not through music or anything. Just in the way where we capitalize on a city’s hard-fought cultural identity. You know, tribute.
“Like great jazz musicians who play instinctively, Bryant brings a similar improvisation to his game. Paying homage to this classic genre and some of its greatest musicians, the KOBE 9 Elite Maestro uses accents of brass in the upper.”
If you can call pull-up fade aways and yelling at Smush Parker for the entire ’05-’06 season “improvisational,” then yeah, I’ll give you this one. But I’d like to point out that the best way to pay homage to legendary jazz musicians would have been to put accents of heroin brown in the upper.
“A glow-in-the-dark outsole pops at night, just as the jazz clubs swing into action. The upper includes additional, secret glow-in-the-dark symbols.”
Nike Executive One: “We’ve got to make this shoe a game changer.”
Nike Executive Two: “Have we put glow-in-the-dark on anything yet?”
That being said, these kicks are kind of dope in a “this is how people in the ’80s imagined future shoes” kind of way. Still, it doesn’t take an inspirational awakening to imagine how they’ll pull off next year’s “Lights of New York” inspired line.