The reigning NBA Sneaker Champ isn’t resting on his laurels.
On Friday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, Tucker stepped onto the court wearing the new Jerry Lorenzo-designed shoes that don’t even have a confirmed release date yet. (Rumors peg it at December.) Of course, this isn’t the first time a hot shoe’s made it onto the basketball court; the lines have been blurring in this direction over the past couple years. LeBron James partnered with John Elliott over the summer to release a pair of signature sneakers meant for off-court wear, and both Tucker and Nick Young have balled in Yeezys. This season alone, Tucker’s played in a pair of Kobe 1s signed by Kobe himself, the Paris Saint Germain Air Jordan Vs, and “Beast” LeBron 2s. What separates Tucker’s Nike Air Fear of God is that they’re designer shoes—but they’re also actually intended to be performance footwear (unlike the Yeezys Tucker and Young lugged onto the court).
The Fear of God shoes represent something like Nike’s final form in 2018—the logical endpoint in a world where the brand spends as much time collaborating with white-hot designers as it does inventing the future of athletic gear . “When we pair our athletes with our creative partners we truly have an opportunity to realize the full potential of Nike,” Fraser Cooke, Nike’s senior director of influencer marketing, told us earlier this year. We’ve seen other examples from the Swoosh: those Elliott-designed LeBrons, and the Off-White x Nike kit Serena Williams wore at this year’s U.S. Open. These types of collaborations are a way for Nike to use everything in its toolbox—world-beating athletes, best-in-class performance technology, and big-name designers—to sell shoes and apparel.
Tucker posted 5 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists in his Fear of God Nikes—not exactly MVP numbers. But putting this sort of sneaker heat on his resume should keep Tucker in pole position for the NBA Sneaker Champ trophy. Which is, incidentally, a not-made-up prize
awarded last season to—who else?—P.J. Tucker.
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