Nike SB x NBA (Part 2)
Following the first collaboration in October of last year, Nike SB and the NBA have teamed up once more to grace us with three shoes; the Blazer Low GT, Bruin Ultra and Dunk High. The shoes are accompanied by two, performance ready t-shirts. Skateboarding and basketball have been synonymous since the creation of Nike SB, for which the inspiration came from the growing use of both basketball and tennis shoes to skate in - and this has never been more evident than this collection. Each shoe, despite brandishing a black leather upper with minor coloured accenting, has been given a treatment similar to the Lance Mountain Jordan 1. Which leads the black paint to wear away to give the shoe a completely new persona - individual to each wearer.
The Nike SB Blazer Low GT finds its heritage in a reimagination of 1970’s low-cut footwear, they were initially designed as a basketball shoe with a high collar but found themselves on the feet of many of skateboardings earliest legends. It was this that lead to the creation of Nike SB in 1997, and accordingly the Blazer Low model. It has always been praised for its simplistic design while presenting high functionality with a Zoom Air unit in the sockliner and herringbone patterned sole for traction. Since its creation it has been the face of several collaborations be it with high-end designers or streetwear giants, such as Supreme, but none seem more relevant than with the organisation that represents everything the blazer once stood to dominate. Despite having a primarily black body, the paint wears away to light blue and amarillo coast yellow, aiming to represent the colours of reigning NBA champions Golden State Warriors.
With a similar basketball heritage, the Bruin, initially from 1972, was one of Nike's first basketball shoes and was immortalised by featuring in the 80's sci-fi classic: Back to the Future. It was eventually re-released as a skate shoe with a more heavy focus on skate necessary function. The streamlined shape of the shoe gives great flexibility as well as boardfeel, with a Zoom Air unit ensuring impact protection isn’t compromised and auxetic shaping along the sole makes sure they stay comfortable for use both on and off the court. Out the box, the shoes are dressed with a black leather upper, but through wear the colourful body of university red starts to appear, giving a nod to one of the NBA’s most infamous teams; the Chicago Bulls. Which was once the home of Michael Jordan, Nike’s biggest investment into basketball culture.
The youngest shoe of the three, the Dunk High has its roots in the 80’s, appearing as a college basketball shoe in 1984 and before long became famous among skaters as they favoured the cushioning and support it offered with its padded tongue and high top collar. Whilst excellent grip is provided in every direction due to a circular tread on the outsole. But it was not until 2001, when Nike revamped its skateboarding division, that the Dunk became an SB staple with changes such as a Zoom Air unit in the sole. Representing Lebron James’ home for seven years, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Dunks colourway allows wear to give way to a maroon coloured upper contrasted by a bold golden Nike swoosh found on either side panel.
These shoes are perfectly matched by the apparel released alongside, taking inspiration from the colour palette of several teams and combining into one. The white tee’s theme nods towards either the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets or Portland Trailblazers with it’s red and black Nike SB graphic screen printed onto the front. Alternatively the black version is inspired by the the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat with metallic gold sprayed over a burgundy Nike SB logo. The capsule as a whole stays clear from any direct branding from any of the teams meaning the collection isn’t exclusive to basketball fans, and instead has the benefit of being street, skate and court ready with the advantage of Dri-Fit technology across all of the tees.
A few of the guys from the Flatspot skate team were invited to London to test just how skate-ready the shoes and apparel were. Harry, Steve and Matt gave the Bruin, Blazer and Dunk rigorous testing, alongside Nike SB’s Korahn Gayle and Savanna Stacey Keenan. They skated spots throughout London and also at the O2 arena with assets being shot by Marcel Veldman (from Fluff Magazine) and a short edit in the works filmed by Will Miles. The team returned to the O2 at the end of the trip to watch the Washington Wizards narrowly beat the New York Knicks to perfectly wrap up a week of basketball inspired skating.
Photography by Marcel Veldman