This year’s NBA All-Star weekend had the city packed with celebrities, ballers and us common folk trying to get in on all the NBA action. The Beyond the W team had the pleasure of being invited to a viewing of some of the rarest player exclusive sneakers and memorabilia. As always, we break down what you need to know.
The small, intimate showing was held not too far from the Barclay Center. The crowd was varied with sneakerheads, NBA fans, and hipsters. This is Brooklyn after all. After taking a few steps, I was drawn to the display that featuring the Air Jordan 13 Ray Allen PE. Allen passed Reggie Miller for the all-time NBA 3-point scoring record February 10th, 2011. The limited run hit select retailers and became instant classics. Ray’s relationship with Jordan Brand goes as far back to 1997 with the Jordan 13 “He Got Game”. This Celtics colorway is understated and clean, like watching Allen hit a 3 from outside the paint. See what I did there?
The Air Jordan 3 Cement was also on display. Considered by many to be the greatest Jordan sneaker of all time (I tend to agree), this was the first from MJ and the visionary Tinker Hatfield. This was the shoe that kept Jordan from leaving Nike in 1988. The first Jordan to feature a visible air unit, tumbled leather, and the now iconic elephant print and jumpman logo. Although this was the 3rd sneaker from Nike and Jordan, it’s safe to say this was the one that started it all.
Originally released in 1992, the Reebok Shaq Attaq was the first signature shoe for the 7 foot tall rookie. Like most athletic shoes from the early 90’s, the mostly white upper is standard. The french blue and black accents tie the shoe to O’Neill’s time with the Orlando Magic. First seen during the 1993 All-star game in Utah, the shoe hadn’t been re-released until mid-2014. It’s only right it should have a spot in this show.
The Nike LeBron line had a strong presence at the exhibit. The Nike Zoom LeBron IV “Fruity pebbles” may have received lukewarm reception when it debut in 2007, but now has reached grail status. The The Nike Zoom LeBron IV” Graffiti, and “NYC Exclusive “ made the cypher complete. The LeBron Line has been an avenue to showcase the best of Nike’s performance technology , and looking at these you can tell the designers were ahead of their time.
Another hypeworthy LeBron player exclusive on display was the Nike air Max LeBron VII “UK”. One of the few, hard-to-get College PE colorways to be released by Nike in 2009, the University of Kentucky’s record-breaking season also helped these become a shoe that any sneakerhead or college ball fan would love to get their hands on.
Last but not least are the Nike Foamposite Lite Kryptonite, the same shoe worn by Nate Robinson when he won the 2009 Slam Dunk contest while hurdling over “Superman” Dwight Howard. This shoe was originally never going to be released. In typical Nike fashion, the shoes were scheduled for a limited release (less than 500 pairs) on March 17, 2009. Back when limited actually meant LIMITED. Even though it sold out instantly, this is not a Hypebeast shoe. Don’t be fooled by the bright green, this one was for the fans. Were talking about the same dude that took to the court of an NBA game wearing Yeezys.