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Source: The 2023 Collection: Chapter 02 Ushers In adidas Basketball’s New Era of Originality On and Off The Court
To add a bit of levity to the discussion, I’m dropping in my high school basketball picture. It shows my age and my extreme love of adidas and Patrick Ewing.
Now that’s out of the way, stop laughing, please… seriously. I decided to share this picture because at one point Nike wasn’t the dominant brand. Converse and adidas owned basketball. Nike was on the rise of course and Jordan Brand was coveted, but no one hooped in Jordans except the guys that were D-1 locks and that was because someone bought the kicks for them, but that’s a different story. Nike did capture a lot of teams with their Dunk and Delta team sneakers, but overall there was sneaker diversity. In adidas’ Remember the Why campaign there is an opportunity for the brand to make waves and allow us to recapture the essence of hoop, but in the latest photo shoot for the company it feels forced and a bit hollow.
There are echoes of Fear of God and without the connection to Lorenzo it feels that the brand is trying to manipulate nostalgia as opposed to capture and show love. I placed my picture here at the start for fun but I wanted to stress that the concept of “Remember the Why” should be landing and resonating outfitters generations, but it isn’t. All I can see when looking at this collection and the imagery is this:
This isn’t fair to adidas as the second installment of Remember the Why arrives with my favorite sneaker of all time, The Rivalry, or in my head forever, the Ewings and maybe that’s the issue. When I remember where I first dunked on an outdoor court in North Memphis at Bickford Community Center (on a lower than ten-foot rim) and then at basketball practice in the ninth grade, that all took place in adidas footwear. My first official dunk attempt in game happened my tenth-grade year against the neighborhood rival. That year our team shoe was the Nike Delta in race and white, but I wore the kicks in that pic, with a wristband just like Patrick Ewing.
When I look at the picture above, my first thought is “Dude can’t hoop.” I don’t see the gear, I don’t see the kicks, I see a manufactured moment and that sucks because at this moment when retro basketball still resonates at retail, I should be focused on the fact that the Rivalry High and Low both ring up at 110 and look incredible. I should really be remembering the why and connecting to the now of going to the park to still get some shots up although I can no longer dunk, and I hurt like hell when I do get into a pickup game when I should know better.
adidas Basketball for me is muscle memory. It’s in my DNA just as much as Nike and Jordan and Converse, but the imagery has to generate some emotion. What sucks for adidas is no matter what is done with this series it will be immediately compared to the Nike blackout from Fear of God and it will feel like a cheat since Jerry is not involved. That’s a shame because these kicks are on par with anything arriving in retro hoops footwear right now. I can’t unsee FOG so I’m leaving you with these alternating shots of Nike x FOG and adidas Basketball Chapter 2. It’s not the same, but it brings the wrong nostalgia.