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The KG 3!!! I was so excited when I got the call to do this.
I was able to work with a legendary shoe mind over at Concept 21 on this one and do a shoe for Kevin Garnett!!! Concept 21 is ANTA’s strategic partner in brand development, product planning, and design. Additionally, they play a major role with their NBA players. With Kevin they created the logos, and a robust product line and marketing strategy. They have set the direction for the last three years for Kevin. Concept 21 starts each season by sitting down with Kevin and talking about what his vision is and what he likes from a design, color, and material point of view. From this they develop a clear product brief including words and visual influences, which they provide to me. I was literally still asleep in my chair at my desk due to working on some other ANTA basketball products the night before when the phone rang and woke me up. Brent said, “Hey!!! You wanna do the next KG shoe?” I woke up immediately and replied, “HELL YEAH!!!” Problem was we literally only had like two weeks to get this done. And I mean we really only had about two weeks to get it done, so to finally see it blows me away because it truly didn’t change much from the sketch. That’s right, one thumbnail sketch. I really do most of my work Tinker Smalls Style. LOL!!! All and all, this shoe definitely is in the top three of my favorite shoes worked on. KG says these are the best shoes, both design and function, he has ever had. I hope it makes its way stateside so I can grab a few pairs.
The brief for this shoe came from Brent flying to Boston to meet with KG for a couple of hours. Now around this time I, like most fans, was bummed because KG had not made his decision whether or not to come back. Either way I was gonna treat this shoe like it was his rookie year and my first project. In the words of Jay-Z: “Treat my first like my last…” Now, I am a huge Celtics fan so when designing this shoe the first thing I wanted to integrate into the product was a rich and traditional feel. After the first meeting Brent called and told me about Kevin’s love for fine watches and cars and Kendrick Lamar songs. I got on iTunes and called my brother D.J. Jam-X, who is a Violator All Star DJ, and got every Kendrick Lamar song and mix tape out there. Also I was in love with “The Bat” from the new Batman movie and there was a bit of conversation about Batman’s vehicles and body armor being a theme also.
I really wanted to give the shoe a leather story for two reasons, the first being that Kevin to me signifies the true example of earning his money on the floor. Most people don’t know Kevin is the highest paid player from just salary on court in the league ever. Second, I wanted a richness to the shoe that represents his stature and also the look and feel you find in shoes like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and classic Jordans. Kevin and most NBA stars of today, as well as myself, grew up in the Jordan era where performance was key and shoes, especially basketball shoes, were a status symbol. We looked at the cars he liked and owned, which was a couple of Mercedes and a Bentley, and incorporated the language in the midsole and midfoot vents. The two Garnett logos in the forefoot came from me trying to give the shoe an upscale logo pop when jeans covered up the quarter logo.
The piece going from the forefoot all the way to the heel was originally going to be a welded support frame story. The KG logos all over the support frame was done to mimic a Gucci-type print. That logo was one of the coolest I’d ever seen so I originally wanted to have it sitting under a clear patent leather like film with a tonal finish so you really wouldn’t see it until you got up close and personal. Also I wanted it to shine like glass and just have the KG logos on the glass symbolizing his rebounding prowess. I really couldn’t get around the quarter logo being so bold. Branding. I actually wanted to pull a Jordan Brand and not use it at all. The parquet outsole tread was inherited from an earlier model because I wanted to have that whole “Walk the parquet even if you can’t play on it” story. Brent and I loved the flip-down tongue, which actually drops down to expose a secondary face logo from the previous model, so we brought it back. The ice bottom was also a team favorite but was supposed to be mixed with solid color and have a dual density. Last but not least, we wanted a carbon fiber shank support but I knew that may not have made it to the final product.
I hope people feel what we were trying to do with this shoe. One thing that was important was to create a basketball shoe that you could play in and also style in. With all the Tupperware shoes out there trying to mock Flywire, I believe there still is a market for this type of shoe. Even though I’m really not in the shoe game anymore, a chance to work on a product for one of my heroes was something I couldn’t pass up. I actually recently got asked to work with yet another of my heroes so I cant wait to see if it’s gonna happen. But let’s just keep our fingers crossed Celtic fans because each time I’ve done shoes for starting centers in the past they have won a title that year!!! Shaq, Andrew Bynum… now please give Kevin his second this year? Keep your eyes open for my first two film projects with the Jackson family coming next year from my FASTPITCH film production company and a cool sandal line I did with one of my mentors Cape called Heaton!!!