Style Points: James Harden, DeMarcus Cousins, and the NBA Are Back

No other sport adds game to culture the way basketball does. NBA Media Day brought forth a lot of that with the unveiling of redesigned team logos and alternate team uniforms. However, the spectacle didn’t stop there.

Already having a great year, adidas made their deal with James Harden truly official by delivering him truckloads on truckloads of their freshest kicks, surely covering all of his sneaker needs in this life and the next one. Meanwhile, young Kyrie Irving saw Media Day as an opportunity to show off a PE version of his Nike Kyrie I–undoubtedly one of the freshest and consistent basketball kicks on the market right now–that included some rattling details on the sneaker’s heel.

We were reminded this past week that brands aren’t the only ones using social media to rein in influence. LeBron James earned his nickname “King James” not solely for his play on the court–although that alone would suffice it–but off of it as well. King James took to an Instagram post to put pressure on the Cleveland Cavaliers front office to re-sign big man Tristan Thompson by simply exclaiming the words “Get it done!!!! Straight up.” LeBron is the most influential and impactful player of his generation, so why not use his muscle across different platforms where he holds influence?

Cool begins with the NBA but doesn’t just end there. Victor Cruz, a well-known sneakerhead in NFL locker rooms and beyond, used his slot on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to debut his Nike Sportswear signature sneaker, the Nike Air Trainer Cruz. No doubt a dream come true for the Giants wide receiver, but it’s also a blessing for the sneaker community because good taste always gives back, and telling by what we’ve seen, they’re an “instacop.”

In this week’s edition of Style Points: James Harden, DeMarcus Cousins, and the NBA Are Back.

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Being a professional athlete not only has its monetary perks but also its gift perks. After signing off on a huge endorsement deal with adidas, the brand made sure to keep “The Beard” extra cozy with some heat: a truckload of its sweetest designs. Not only is it a brilliant marketing ploy to introduce its latest signee to the world, by announcing that “the wait is over,” it’s a way to make sure your star athlete never feels the need to slip into another maker’s shoe. With the Ultra Boost technology killing it right now, I’d probably never look back as well. Now the real question is how long until Harden gets his own signature sneaker?

James Harden adidas

At its best, NBA Media Day is an opportunity for players and teams to stunt and show off some new designs. Nike and Kyrie Irving have already blessed us with my favorite basketball kicks at the moment, the Kyrie 1, but they pushed the design standard even higher with beautiful intricacies in tune with the Cleveland Cavaliers Navy swingman jersey colorway. These Kyrie I shoes may be my favorite ones thus far. For now, they are Irving’s own PEs (rightfully so) but time and hope will tell if these bad boys make their way over to us. Fingers crossed.

Nike Kyrie 1 Kyrie Irving

You can’t rest your ability on just talent and supernatural athleticism, although both those things can and will certainly help you. You best hone your skills by getting the fundamentals packed down before making your way up the game’s ladder. With all that said, it doesn’t stop us from enjoying an athlete’s freakish jumping ability.

Like the need for comedic relief in an otherwise serious work, watch Texas Longhorns freshman Kerwin Roach Jr. get up and touch the top of the backboard. If our forecast reads correct and his play matches up with his stellar athleticism, we may have a future dunk contest contestant at hand.

The Milwaukee Bucks weren’t the only team to showcase their redesigned logo and new uniforms on NBA Media Day but, in my opinion, they nailed the design aspect better than anyone else in the league. While the purple jersey made famous by Ray Allen during his playing days there certainly calls for nostalgia, the Bucks organization has always bled green. Just ask Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. They (reportedly) will be the first NBA team in league history to play in an alternate uniform on an alternate court design, and being that Jabari Parker is fully healthy and running again, we don’t mind what they wear.

Victor Cruz has become somewhat of a cool kid, a fashion voice off the field. His sneaker fetishism is no secret to the world, and now he finally has a sneaker he can call his own with the Nike Air Trainer Cruz. The sneaker looks like an amalgamation of past Nike sneakers, including a slight nod to the Nike Bo, but there are also hidden personal gems delivered in written messages on different parts of the shoe…like the “Dance To Greatness” written on the inside of the mid-foot strap, honoring Cruz’s passion for the hip-sway, or the “In Memory of Mike” and the number “3” tribute to his father dotted on the Black/Crimson pair that’s set to be released sometime over the next few months. Instacop for sure.
Nike Air Trainer Cruz

Nike’s CEO Mark Parker emphasized the importance of collaborations in a recent interview with Hypebeast by stating, “Being open and curious to the world through collaboration is a way to nourish and inspire our own creative culture.” This open-mindedness at the core of the company’s values has inspired other brands to follow suit.

NBA Media Day was a chance for players to show off their taste in kicks by matching them with their team uniforms. DeMarcus Cousin wasn’t the only player to sport the OVO Air Jordan X (James Young did as well) but his ties to Drake go back to his days with the Kentucky Wildcats. Drake’s affiliation with the Wildcats has been well documented, and earlier this year, Cousins got a shoutout from Drake in his song “6 Man.” Cousins, reciprocating the love, showed out during Media Day and supported Drake’s contribution to the Jordan Brand. All in all, a collaboration of love and respect.

We really can’t wait to see what DMC wears throughout the season. He’s probably both the largest sneakerhead in the NBA and the most underappreciated. Adding the fact that he has no qualms with trying just about anything on the floor, as well as his affinity for showing out on Instagram, and it should be a fun ride.

DeMarcus Cousins