Interview with Rodney Jeter, BALL’N founder.
Launched by Chicago-native Rodney Jeter in 1991, BALL’N has been around for a while but you may not have heard of the brand until this year when the company got into the sneaker game and made noise with Ron Artest signing on to endorse BALL’N shoes. The company currently has two footwear styles out, BALL’N Lay Up (low cut) and BALL’N All Out (mid cut), featuring new d3o shock absorption technology currently available to purchase through Facebook. More models (and possibly athletes) are on the way. We caught up with Rodney Jeter to give us the full rundown on the brand and a look into the future of BALL’N…
CounterKicks: How would you sum up the BALL’N brand for someone who is unfamiliar with the company? What is your mantra?
Rodney Jeter: BALL’N is an authentic athletic lifestyle apparel and footwear brand that is dedicated to support the development of athletes in their everyday lives. The brand is about great products, love for the game, and a need to connect youths with the global community through sports.
CK: Why did you pick the name BALL’N?
Jeter: I picked the name BALL’N because to the inner city urban kids it describes great athletic play. In addition to the urban community, BALL’N is a vernacular term used to describe an aspirational and/or flashy lifestyle.
CK: Tell us about the new d3o technology in BALL’N footwear and how does it increase shoe performance for the wearer?
Jeter: d3o technology enhances the shoes’ performance by giving athletes more comfort, flexibility and joint support in a lightweight shoe.
CK: How did d3o technology make its way into the Winter Olympic Games?
Jeter: d3o products were worn by the US and Canadian Alpine Ski Team during the 2006 & 2010 Winter Olympics. The d3o technology was infused into the Ski Teams uniforms to give Skiers superior protection with flexible and lightweight pads.
CK: How is BALL’N “Game Time Protection” gear different from what’s already out in the marketplace? What kind of performance items should we expect to see?
Jeter: BALL’N Game Time Protection will be different because it gives players the highest level of protection with lightweight flexible padding using d3o pads. Styles will include compression shorts, arm sleeves and vests.
CK: How much of the BALL’N sneaker is technical design and how much is aesthetics? Do you try to tie it in to current NBA uniforms and styles?
Jeter: BALL’N sneakers are built on the premise of infusing great aesthetic designs with performance and technology in mind. We try to always take in consideration the hot NBA teams and the style and colorways of those teams.
CK: Why did you pick Ron Artest as the face for BALL’N?
Jeter: BALL’N was created in the playground of inner city Chicago and one of our main objectives is to give back to the inner city. It was very important for the first player that represented BALL’N to be a player that was also from the inner city and understood the problems and issues going on in the inner city. He was already reaching out and helping the community. Ron was involved in charitable initiatives, such as his Excel University foundation that supplies funds to help kid go to college and his Mental Health foundation. In addition, Ron is from Queensbridge, NY and he is truly committed to helping out the same community that helped him reach the NBA.
CK: How much say did Ron have in for the design of the shoes?
Jeter: Ron’s say was imperative, because he has to be able to perform at a high level in the shoes we create. His input and feedback of how the shoes are performing give us better knowledge on how to constantly improve them.
Continue to Page 2 for BALL’N founder Rodney Jeter on the company’s future endorsement plans, product locations, and where the brand plans to be in the coming years…