Aesthetics and performance
The D Lillard 1 brings everything together, from the new logo that fuses “DL” with Lillard’s “0” — a direct ode to his homes of Oakland, Ogden, and Oregon — as well as a callout to the “Fly Guyz,” Lillard’s closest friends and family, to unique rap lyrics written by the man himself on every insole. The sneaker may also feature premium nubuck and leather texturing, but adidas’ Basketball Design Director Robbie Fuller maintains it was always inspired by Dame’s commitment and work ethic.
With Lillard playing so close to adidas’ home base, the design process featured a lot of back and forth until, finally, they came through with what was necessary for a performance sneaker: Full-length adiprene+ cushioning along the midsole; TECHFIT tongue and inner booty for comfort; and a new low-cut design.
“My entire life I’ve dreamed of having my own signature shoe,” Lillard said at the launch. “I’ve worked so hard throughout my basketball career and with the support of my family, teammates and fans I’ve been able to get to a point where I’m fortunate enough to achieve that dream. Being in Portland and having such a great, close relationship with everyone at adidas and my fans really makes the shoe representative of who I am on and off the court.”
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The king of clutch? Probably.
Don’t underestimate this quality. Ever since Michael Jordan put his stamp on the NBA and the sneaker game, we have certain qualities we look for in the players we want to emulate. One of the most important is having a killer instinct and being unafraid of the moment. Dame relishes that opportunity. His three-pointer to win last season’s playoff series against Houston was a defining moment for the young player and we can certainly expect more over the coming years. That instantly makes him cool and makes him someone every young kid wants to be like.
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For a guy who was only a two-star recruit in high school and then needed four years of college ball — an anomaly in this day and age — to draw interest from NBA scouts, Damian Lillard has quickly established himself as a major franchise cornerstone in the NBA. Brands have taken notice, too. The 6-3 Portland point guard isn’t just an All-Star. (Dude’s an All-Star. I don’t care what the facts say this year.) He’s not just one of the league’s top lead guards. He has the special qualities that make a brand like adidas stop and take notice. The fact that he has his own signature sneaker now isn’t surprising at all, at least not for the people who have been watching him play ever since he put up 23 points and 11 assists in his first NBA game. We all expected it.
There’s a difference between being a great NBA player and being someone capable of creating and maintaining a dope shoe. Outside of the obvious things such as design and marketing and timing, the player needs specific qualities that’ll make him attractive to fans. Lillard has all of those.
Take a look around the NBA. We know about the history of point guards receiving signature sneakers. But recently, we’ve seen a number of young guards flooding the landscape. John Wall. Kyrie Irving. Stephen Curry. Lillard is at the head of that class.
With his first signature sneaker set to drop this week, everyone in the sneaker community needs to be ready. This could be the start of something awesome, especially when you consider the direction adidas is trending. This is How Damian Lillard Will Make His Signature Sneaker a Powerhouse.
Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney
image via adidas