When the New York Knicks acquired Rasheed Wallace this season, I got goosebumps. For years, I longed for the return of the era when real bruisers played for the Knicks. I’m talking like the real bad boys of the NBA I grew up liking: Anthony Mason, Charles Oakley, Latrell Sprewell, Marcus Camby. These are the types that made the games chippy between their opponents. Add a rivalry to the equation, and you’ve got yourself a boiler maker. Wallace helped bring along his “take-no-shit” attitude, which is what the Knicks needed this season to bully their way beyond the regular season. Right now, with New York basketball bogarting the spotlight from that other transplant team, of course, it would have to be reflected in its players, namely Rasheed Abdul Wallace.
Sheed is versatile; able to bang in the paint, post up, and make critical three-point shots. His reputation exceeds him as being vocal and brash with other players and referees, but he’s as physical too. His career reached its apex when he won a championship as a Detroit Piston in 2004. This year, when Sheed played against his former team as a Knick, he hung his warmup jacket on his chair in the locker room. It was a reminder of his achievement. For other players who had yet to taste the ecstasy of victory, this was a glimmer of the promised land he still would pursue now in the twilight of his career.
Aside from the tender moment of the jacket, Sheed’s loyalty to the Nike Air Force 1 High has underscored his fashion sense on the court. The Air Force 1, it’s the shoe that’s woven into the culture of sneakers in the Mecca of basketball. To see Wallace retire yesterday in the city that called the Air Force 1 “Uptowns” was a storybook ending the way I hoped it would. He’s come full circle with the 1982 classic sneaker he has become synonymous with. The only other player I could compare Sheed to is Penny Hardaway who came to the Knicks in ’04, also past his prime. All editions of the Penny were timeless, the same way Sheed’s AF1′s were. Although Sheed would see more player exclusives with more teams than Penny, that actually gives him the advantage. Although versions of the Air Penny would become fashionable on and off the court, the Nike Air Force 1 one of Nike’s silhouettes has universal appeal that has crossed over into mainstream, like a pair of Converse All-Star, shell toe adidas, or Reebok pumps. Sheed soldiered this season in his player exclusives. Nicekicks.com highlighted his three pairs of Player Exclusives he wore this season. He’s now hanging up those AF1′s for the second time, since retiring as a Celtic in 2010. You gotta give him credit though, the dude actually came back and gave it a go for one game ahead of schedule. Derrick Rose hasn’t even done that much. Sorry, I won’t touch that one. But, real talk, ball don’t lie.
Carmelo Anthony has earned the scoring title for the 2012-13 NBA season. You mad? For some reason, Kevin Durant’s post on Instagram about not striving for that goal last night seemed like a slight jab at Melo, who went H.A.M. this season as the league’s leading scorer. So, Durant’s is number two in this points scored statistical category, and you know what, his KD V, in my biased opinion, are also second to Melo’s Air Jordan Melo M8 Advance from last year. To be fair, I’ve never slipped on a pair of Durant’s KD V.
Put aside the points per game stats of both of these forwards for a moment. Forget Oklahoma City’s astounding team record (60-21) versus the Knicks’ impressive 54 wins. If Durant’s sneakers are so fly, why has Melo bested him for scoring leader? My argument simply boils down to that ubiquitous catchphrase coined by Spike Lee (a.k.a Mars Blackmon), “It’s the shoes.” Those three words that came out of Spike’s mouth with vigor, declared that the Air Jordan signature sneaker is the reason why His Airness was able to soar to unseen heights, even though Jordan begged to differ. With all respect to MJ’s skills,
Mars Spike wasn’t willing to hand over credit to him so easily—probably because of his known die-hard allegiance to the Knicks. These are different times though: Jordan is retired, now Melo carries the torch of Jordan Brand in New York. If Mars Blackmon was resurrected from the ’90s, would he give props to Melo or his shoes? Ultimately, he’d have to favor the M8 Advance, Melo’s go-to shoe. He debuted them in the summer of 2012, as early as July when Anthony dominated in the Olympics setting a new USA Basketball record with 37 points (10 3-pointers), defeating Nigeria by a margin of 83 points. Fast forward to his second full season with the Knicks, he’s tied Bernard King’s record for three 40+ point games in a single season by a Knick. If you’ve been paying attention this year, Spike has paid homage to Melo’s idol by wearing King’s number 30 jersey. In back-to-back games where Melo scored over 40 points (against the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks), he was wearing the M8 Advance.
Conversely, Melo’s most debilitating knee injury, where he was compelled to have fluid drained, happened as he was wearing the M9′s (Black/White/Bright Citrus) against the Cleveland Cavaliers. We’re not saying that the M9 is a bad omen, because he’s played well in those, too. The Syracuse Team Exclusive of the M9 were clutch for Melo against the Toronto Raptors at The Garden on March 23rd. Overall, Anthony has played his best basketball in the M8 Advance, though. There was the epic win against the Los Angeles Lakers, where he scored 33 in the first quarter. Recently, the climax of Melo’s 2013 performance almost securing him the scoring title was highlighted when he dropped 50 on the Miami Heat, wearing the Game Royal/Team Orange/Black colorway. Oh, Spike was in the audience at the Heat game, sans King jersey though.
If you still think the popularity of the M8 Advance is only fueled by Melo, look at the sidelines at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks ball boys and the trainers all rock the White/Game Royal/Team Orange colorway. The materials are rigid and breathable because they’re built with Hyperfuse and mesh. Design credits go to Justin Taylor, who has been behind Melo’s kicks since the Air Jordan Melo M6 (2010). At that time—when Melo played for Denver—he said they were his best shoe yet. “For me to make a shoe as light as this shoe, and still be as durable as it is, and be able to go out there and perform and have no worries, I think this is the best shoe to have on your feet.” That sentiment about the M6 could relate directly to the M8 Advance. For all the great things that could be said about the M8 Advance in design, much credit goes to the foundation laid by the M8. “We’ve never done an exposed forefoot Zoom [Air] bag in the history of the brand, so it gives Melo something to kind of hang his hat on as the first to do,” said Taylor.
As we compare Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant’s PPG numbers: 28.7 versus 28.1, their sneakers are also very similar. The KD V, like the M8 Advance both have Zoom Air and are made of Hyperfuse technology which is the material that molds to the foot, making it one with the players. The KD V’s designer, Leo Chang told ESPN, “We decided to make it softer and easier to move.” The result makes Durant and Melo more explosive to the hoop when driving or cushioning them when landing. As you look up though, it’s Melo who is on top this year ending Durant’s 3-year scoring title streak. Congrats Melo. Keep advancing.
All Day I Dream About Shumpert. If A.D.I.D.A.S needs a new tagline, we got you now that Iman Shumpert has been lacing up the Top Ten 2000 2wo 1ne, the Crazy 8, and now the Real Deal.
During the current six game winning streak of the Knicks, Shump has posted flicks of each new pair of Real Deal before game time. The most recent, a sparlking silver/orange/blue pair was posted on his Instagram last night before he dropped 13 points in the first quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies; he would finish with 16 altogether. In a previous game against Toronto, Shumpert showcased a black/orange/gray/blue colorway of the Real Deal, which the Knicks also won.
Is the Real Deal about to steal the spotlight from his regular rotation of the 2wo 1ne? Back in February, after the Knicks lost to the Raptors at Madison Square Garden in their first meeting, he photographed the red/black/white kit sitting on a private jet. He wasn’t in the form we’re seeing now, as, back then, he played only 21 minutes and ended the game with 5 points. Then there was the struggle of Shump being on a minutes restriction after coming back from injury. That’s a non factor now because, these days, Shump is getting back his offensive and defensive prowess we saw last season. When we’re not seeing him on the court, Shump and his flattop, are turning it up also for adidas in their adicolor commercials. Keep your eyes on the real. Done deal.
The adidas Real Deal is available in five colorways at Eastbay and Champs priced at $110.
Photos via Foot Patrol
This Saturday, March 30th, the reign of Patrick Ewing’s 33 Hi continues when they’re released in the United States. Stores nationwide like Atmos, UBIQ, and UNDFTD will carry the Knick legend’s signature shoe in the Georgetown University navy/gray color scheme and in white/black/green for the Jamaica release.
Both pairs go deeper into the heritage of Patrick Aloysius Ewing. Starting with his birthplace of Kingston, Jamaica, the 33 Hi has the country’s flag emblazoned on the heel. Fun Fact: Patrick Ewing was born on August 5th, 1962 just a day before Jamaica declared its independence from Britain. Another milestone in Ewing’s personal and professional life was attending Georgetown University, playing for the Hoyas all four years. The Georgetown colorway of the 33 Hi commemorates his great run, which also consisted of winning an NCAA title in the 1983-84 season against the University of Houston.
“Things weren’t going the way I thought they should be going at Adidas. They didn’t like the fact that I was hurt. I told them just buy me out and I’ll go my own ways. Roberto Mueller came to me with the idea to start my own company. I jumped on board, came out with an all-white shoe so everybody could forget the other people and move on, and it worked.”
Check out more photos of the Ewing 33 Hi below. Got a favorite from the line of Ewing 33 Hi? The streets want to know.
The Air Jordan Melo M9 just gets better every month – as does every current Jordan product, it seems. Tonight, University of North Carolina will debut the Carolina blue and white colorway of the M9 in their game against Villanova. The heat coming from the initial lineup of colorways worn by Carmelo Anthony for the All-Star game and Black History Month were a taste of some of the wild styles to be released from his signature shoe. Now, NCAA teams are basking in the glory of even better color schemes.
Last month, on February 23rd, Syracuse—Melo’s alma mater—wore the M9′s with the orange upper in his honor, on the day his jersey was retired.
The California Golden Bears got their own Team Exclusives in black, yellow and navy blue. So when Syracuse and California go head to head this Saturday, you already know it will be a sneaker showdown for the books. Which NCAA team has worn the M9 the best? Sound off below.
Yesterday, on Spike Lee’s birthday, Knicks fans got to share in one of the best gifts Spike could get, a win at Madison Square Garden. It was a star-studded affair with Spike front row, Giants Wide Receiver Victor Cruz in the building, and Carmelo Anthony’s return after his knee injury. Following suit with such special occasions was the attire, more specifically, the sneakers worn by the guest of honor and the Knicks.
The ensemble of NYK kicks on display were interesting to see because there was a theme of flash and modesty on the court. As you looked at Melo attacking the basket in his M9 Syracuse, within the same glance, J.R. Smith’s orange Nike Hyperdunk Low and Iman Shumpert’s adidas Top Ten 2000 “2WO 1NE” caught looks. The only other Knick known to turn up the color scheme consistently is James White when he rocks the K1X AntiGravity. But in the shadow of the all the brights—including Spike Lee’s Volt colored Black History Month Air Jordan Spizikes (above)—Chris Copeland and Marcus Camby’s were the silent killers. Copeland played 20 minutes in the Nike Zoom Hyperenforcer, and Marcus Camby wore the blue colorway from the Nike Zoom Huarache TR “NYC” pack. Peep Camby’s kicks below.
“Chris Paul, Clippers torch injury-depleted Knicks,” reads ESPN’s headline. Rather than add insult to injury with puns about getting burned yesterday in Los Angeles, Raymond Felton had the fire under his feet scoring the team’s high of 16 points. In his 41 minutes, the Knicks guard’s 3-point shooting was clutch keeping NYK in striking distance during the first half. Then his mid-range jumper, and drives to the basket supplemented their offense in the second half. A Felton-Jordan matchup was one to watch though. Felton’s key layup scored against DeAndre Jordan was a highlight that clearly isn’t getting as much replay as Jordan’s open floor dunk from the first half. Being a poster boy for posterizing Brandon Knight has earned Jordan the national attention he deserves, plus a big promotional push by Under Armour with a line of T-shirts that read, “Show Me Your Dunk Face.”
Will Raymond Felton get a liltle more love from UA? Felton has been wearing all the varieties of his Micro G-Torch Player Exclusive, including the Christmas Day edition. Yesterday he gave the orange upper and blue laser perforated kit some mileage, while Jordan stole the sneaker spotlight sporting the St. Patrick’s Day Spine Bionic green colorway. Since Under Armour announced the addition of Felton to the Under Armour family in January, there haven’t been any recent updates to what’s next for Felton and Under Armour. The brand’s support of players who are underdogs, who turn adversity into triumph fits right in with Felton’s narrative bouncing around the league, leaving the Knicks and his warm welcome back to New York this year.
Right now the Knicks are holding onto the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference. They’re constantly striving to prove themselves against criticism of their age, lack of team depth, and of course the injuries. The Knicks will be back at Madison Square Garden to play Orlando on Wednesday. So you can surely expect Felton to lace up a pair of his UA PE to protect their house.
It must be the shoes why J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin were at the top of their game last week. Nah, not really their sneakers. The Knicks cruised to a victory (113-84) over the Utah Jazz thanks in part to J.R. scoring 24 points, while stylishly adding more highlights to his reel wearing the Air Jordan 4 Cement.
Kenyon Martin logged a little over 21 minutes at Madison Square Garden, wearing the more team appropriate Fontay Montana colorway of the Air Jordan Retro 9. Saturday night’s game against the Jazz was actually the second time both players rocked their respective pair of Jordans this week—the first being their Thursday night loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The one technical difference though is that K-Mart started out the Thunder game wearing the Jordan Spizike NYK Blue Ribbon colorway (below), before settling in with the Fontay Montana throwbacks.