Can They Kick It?

Jordan Brand unveils Air Jordan XX9

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com


VIDEO: Tinker Hatfield on the Air Jordan XX9

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — At a press conference yesterday in Manhattan, Jordan Brand unveiled their latest signature sneaker, the Air Jordan XX9. Michael Jordan and designer Tinker Hatfield were in attendance, and they talked often about how the new kicks, which will be available in September, is the best shoe they’ve created yet.

The shoe is woven together using a technology they found in Italy, so it’s both light and strong. As a press release explains…

The performance-woven upper delivers superior abrasion resistance, along with an entirely new look on the outside of the shoe. The structure and fit of the shoe are engineered through Flight Web tunnels, and strategic panels of stiffer and softer flex to enhance natural motion. The absence of numerous layers and adhesion technologies creates an incredibly comfortable, sock-like interior lining with superior breathability. Using webbed straps that wrap the foot and integrate with the laces, the Flight Web fit system offers superior mid-foot lockdown that moves with the athlete. Woven channels in the upper enhance the Flight Web fit system, while a double-lasted heel helps dampen the impact on hard landings. Articulated padding in the collar adds to the premium, signature feel of the shoe and helps prevent the heel from slipping.

While the shoe isn’t out until the fall, you’ll probably start seeing it on some feet in the playoffs. In the meantime, check out some images of the first two colorways in the gallery below…

Shaq, Shawn Kemp Go Old School For Reebok

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Arguments in a barber shop are about as common as the actual haircuts. Want to talk sports, politics, movies…basically anything? Head to the barber shop. Which makes it the perfect setting for this new ad from Reebok. In this barber shop, Shaquille O’Neal and Shawn Kemp (along with comedian Lil’ Duval) try to decide who is the best big man in the game. Want to hear Shaq’s argument? He’d probably rather just show you…
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VIDEO: Reebok Barber Shop

Adidas Debuts 2014 NBA All-Star Uniforms

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The NBA and adidas today dropped an early look at the uniforms for the 2014 All-Star Game, on February 16 in New Orleans.

According to a press release from adidas, “the uniforms are inspired by New Orleans’ rich and unique culture, featuring vibrant Mardi Gras colors and shiny brass and silver accents on a short-sleeved silhouette. The NBA All-Star logo appears on the chest of the blue ‘East’ and red ‘West’ jerseys in the shape of the fleur-de-lis, the official symbol of Louisiana, with a purple ‘W’ or green ‘E’ cut out to identify the conference of each player.”

“Each year, we look forward to developing a unique on-court look for the players that pays homage to the host city and adds to the excitement of this highly anticipated game,” said Chris Grancio, adidas head of global basketball sports marketing. “This year’s All-Star collection reflects New Orleans’ festive musical history while also providing the premium performance elements that NBA athletes have grown accustomed to.”

Also, the All-Stars will rock “varsity-style” warm-ups that are customized to “represent individual career accomplishments such as NBA All-Star Game appearances and NBA All-Star MVP awards, NBA Championships, regular season accolades and scoring titles. Players will also wear shooting shirts that feature a colorful primal print.”

NBA All-Star jerseys ($80 – $130) will be available at NBAStore.com in addition to a full range of NBA All-Star apparel from adidas including men’s and women’s T-shirts ($22 – $30), track jackets ($80 – $120) and headwear ($16 – $26).

Check the gallery below for images…


Gallery: New 2014 All-Star Game jerseys

Kobe Returns With A New Commercial

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — You stayed up last night to watch Kobe Bryant‘s return to action against the Sacramento Kings Toronto Raptors, didn’t you? Yeah, if you’re a basketball fan, you probably did. You don’t have to be a Laker fan to appreciate what a big deal this was. (And if you are a Laker fan, well, maybe you need to reorder your priorities.) This was the Mamba, arguably the best player of his generation, returning to action after suffering the most serious injury of his career.

And you know what? He looked pretty good. He was a little rusty, sure, and the layoff seemed to manifest most obviously in his timing, but overall it was great to see Kobe being Kobe. And to celebrate all the things that make Kobe so special, Nike released a new commercial last night (with Ice Cube on the voiceover) to remind us that Kobe is a pretty singular dude. Welcome back, Kobe.
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VIDEO: Kobe Comeback

Nike Unveils Kobe 9 Elite Shoe

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ALL BALL NERVE CENTERKobe Bryant has been through eight signature shoes as a Nike athlete, but at a media event at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the ninth and maybe most dramatic kick yet was unveiled. The KOBE 9, out February 8, 2014, is a mixture of design, fashion and function, and Bryant clearly relished showing it off alongside Nike CEO Mark Parker and Nike Creative Director and VP of Innovation Eric Avar.

After several years of lowtops, the Kobe 9 is huge, reaching high above the ankle — Kobe said the idea came to him while watching Manny Pacquiao train and noticing his boxing shoes. Together with Avar, the idea was honed into the KOBE 9. (Of the design process and going back and forth with Avar, Kobe said he particularly enjoyed it because “I think we’re all geeks at heart.”)

The shoe is largely constructed from Nike Flyknit, the first time the technology has been used in a basketball shoe. According to Nike, Flyknit “defies conventional shoe manufacturing processes by creating a one-piece engineered upper made from single strands of yarns.”

While there are various design hints throughout the shoe to what Kobe referred to as his “muses,” the most obvious key to the shoe is the lines of red embroidered down the back of the shoe, a nod to the stitches Kobe received after his Achilles surgery.

“I draw inspiration from where I am as a player, as a person, and where my career is at this moment,” Kobe said. “I’m trying to do something that the majority of people think is impossible to do. I let my emotions out when I step on the basketball floor, it’s always been my escape, and these shoes will touch a nerve on the court in the same way I do.”

According to some early reviews on my Twitter feed, at least one other NBA player likes the look of the shoe…

For more looks at the shoe, check the gallery below…
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Dwyane Wade and Li-Ning Launch New Shoe, Website

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ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few years ago, it was announced that Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade had signed with Li-Ning, one of the largest athletic brands in Asia, but not necessarily a brand that was well known in the United States. Slowly but surely, that seems to be changing.

After wearing a signature shoe last season called the Way of Wade, this season Wade is rocking the Way Of Wade 2.0, and as of tomorrow at 3:00 PM EST, the shoe will be available online for the first time to consumers in the US and Canada on wayofwade.com.

The shoe, which will retail for $150, is called the Way of Wade 2.0 Overtown, named for a specific neighborhood in Miami. In the video below, D-Wade explains the thought process behind the kicks…
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VIDEO: Way of Wade 2.0

Jamal Crawford Partners With BRANDBLACK

Jamal Press Release

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Clippers guard Jamal Crawford has become the first NBA player to sign with BRANDBLACK, a new player in the athletic apparel and footwear game, it will be announced later today.

BRANDBLACK is a new line from footwear veteran David Raysse, formerly with companies such as adidas and Fila. Based in Los Angeles, according to a release, “BRANDBLACK pays homage to the area’s heritage of a boundary breaking aerospace industry through the use of advanced designs and fabrications that emphasize performance, strength and minimal weight. Its home also affords BRANDBLACK a rich design tapestry that reflects the region’s status as a sports innovator, entertainment capital and fashion center.”

And now the L.A.-based company has signed one of Los Angeles’ most exciting scorers. “Joining BRANDBLACK was an easy decision for me,” Crawford says in the release. “The performance and aesthetics of the BRANDBLACK line is second to none. The minute I began to play in the shoes, I knew that I never wanted to wear another brand.  The craftsmanship and overall design of the shoe was beyond my expectations.  [Being invited to be] BRANDBLACK’s first global ambassador affords me an [opportunity to impact the style of the game that I love] and to start my own legacy in sports apparel.”

Crawford, who has been wearing the shoes already this season, will debut a signature line of “JCrossover” shoes later this season.

Buy Michael Jordan’s Flu Game Shoes

1997 NBA Finals Game Five: Chicago Bulls v Utah Jazz

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the memorable NBA moments of my lifetime was Michael Jordan‘s “flu game” during Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, when MJ scored 38 points and willed the Bulls to a win despite battling a 103-degree fever. (Whether or not it was actually the flu he was battling is still a subject of some debate.)

After that iconic Game 5, Jordan apparently gave the Air Jordan XII’s he wore in the game to a Jazz ball boy, who has had the shoes stashed in a safe place for the last 16 years. Until now.

As reported on Ball Don’t Lie, the ball boy who ended up with those kicks has decided to put the shoes up for auction. Bidding will open on November 18, and I’m guessing despite the years that have passed, these kicks will eventually go for a rather nice number.

Interested? Who isn’t. Start saving up now, people.

Derrick Rose Is All In For Chicago


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ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Over the weekend, adidas dropped a bunch of Derrick Rose stuff just in time to remind us that the former MVP is about to come back to the NBA at full strength, and he has a little something to prove. (To begin with, check the video above, which shows Rose at the top of his game.)

And when he comes back, he’ll be wearing the D Rose 4, Rose’s latest signature shoe from adidas. The feature that will most likely catch eyes right off the bat is the vertical line running down the side of the shoe, which is intended to reflect Rose’s distinct on- and off-court personalities. According to adidas, “With tough and strong materials and innovative technology, the back heel was designed to highlight Derrick’s game and enhance his explosive and attacking style of play. The front of the shoe, made with premium materials and a sleek, clean design, represents Derrick’s relaxed and understated off-court style.”

Along with the shoe, look for a signature apparel collection. The D Rose 4 launches at adidas.com on October 10 for $140, in three different colorways. Five other editions will launch through the end of the year.

To get a closer look at the shoe, check the gallery below…
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Dwyane Wade’s Light-Up Shoelaces

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the biggest news tidbits in the last few years, at least in the shoe world, came when Dwyane Wade left Jordan Brand and signed with the Chinese company Li-Ning. His first signature shoe with Li-Ning was last season’s Way Of Wade (or WOW), and over the weekend Wade posted a photo on Instagram of a shoe he’s never worn in a game: A Way Of Wade with what appears to be light-up shoe laces…
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Couple of things here:

1. There’s a reason Wade’s nickname is/was Flash.

2. Nice Dennis Rodman Stance socks, Dwyane.

3. I don’t know if these laces would be considered OK by the NBA or not to wear in a game, but seems to me there would be all kinds of opportunities to make your laces flash — after a bucket, after a steal, etc. Or what about in the middle of a crossover? Would there be any better way to distract your opponent?

Either way, I think we have to respect Wade’s innovation here.

So how about it: Would you wear a pair a shoes of light-up laces?

(via TNLP)