The doubters never stopped Kris Bryant. They never made him quit, never made him give up. The 6-5 righty eventually turned himself into the No. 1 prospect in baseball, and within his first year in the Majors, the dude is already an All-Star. That’s crazy. A 23-year-old with less than a full season’s worth of games is already considered one of the best players in baseball. While Chicago is fighting for a playoff spot, Bryant is on pace for 27 home runs and 103 runs batted in.
However, while most fans define Bryant strictly by what the third baseman does on the field, the Las Vegas native is also making waves with adidas Originals. Bryant headlined the recent Champs Sports and adidas Originals “Fire and Ice” video campaign, where he served notice that the doubters would never get in the way of his game. He also got a chance to rock the new “Fire” and “Ice” colorways of the adidas ZX Flux, one of his favorite lifestyle sneaker silos. For someone who likes to keep things casual, the adidas ZX Flux is the perfect antidote, with its one-piece mesh upper that can look good with anything, secured and supported with the heel counter from the classic ZX thousands series.
During Episode 5 of The Drop video series, we caught up with Bryant to talk about Chicago’s best food, his affinity for the adidas ZX Flux, and much more. Check it out.
*** *** ***
How’s your year going?
Pretty good so far. A lot of fun. The team’s been doing pretty good. I’m having a blast in Chicago so I couldn’t be more happy where I’m at.
You’re a Las Vegas guy, but let me know about the best pizza spots in the CHI?
The food here is unbelievable. I’m more of a steak guy. I’m a big fan of the RPM restaurants. RPM Italian. RPM Steak. You really can’t go wrong with any restaurant downtown.
Baseball is a sport that has a long tradition. You’re wearing caps, a uniform. But off the field, what’s your style like?
I’m pretty casual. I’ve always been the type to throw some jeans on with a white pair of shoes. But I guess as I grow a little older, I try to venture out a little bit. I try to keep it simple.
What are you wearing most right now?
I like the Flux. I think they are really comfortable. There are a lot of different designs. You can match it up with your clothes. But for me, the first thing I like is the comfort. The style is after that with the reflective patterns where you can take a picture. I think that all adds to the creativity behind it.
I know you have a Flux pair with the Wrigley Ivy on there.
Yeah, the app you can get lets you take a picture of anything and throw it your shoe. I think that’s pretty cool. When I first saw that…obviously you think about putting your face on your shoe. But it’s really cool. A lot of guys were writing me on Twitter saying they wanted a pair of the shoes. It’s really simple so I think that’s a pretty cool thing.
Do you get a chance to wear them a lot?
No, when I’m on the field I try to stick with the blue pattern but as I’ve grown into my career here, I’ve started a little sneaker collection. I’ve got one at home.
What were your favorites growing up? Is your style the same as it was back then?
No, back then it was very different. It was more of what my mom bought me and it was always a pair of white sneakers. They were usually dirty after a week of wearing them. I didn’t really care. I was usually outside playing with my buddies, hanging out and wearing whatever fit my foot.
How do you think your style meshes with adidas Originals?
I think adidas is very creative. They are kind of changing the game in terms of footwear. For me, on the field, the cleats they make are awesome, very comfortable with the Boost technology. And then off the field, there are so many different choices. You’re going to dinner, you can wear a certain pair of shoes or just lounging around, or working out. You can literally wear everything.
So adidas has been able to connect with so many different people from different generations. Why do you think that is? What stands out about them?
I think it all goes back to the creativity and the fact that there are some brilliant minds behind it. It’s cool that it’s not just the athletes. There are artists out there. There are rappers, and they’re all affiliated with the company. And I think it’s cool when you incorporate people besides just athletes that are on TV.
Now I know you’re a Vegas guy and that you haven’t spent a ton of time here in Chicago, but what are some apparel essentials that you need to survive the winters?
I’ve only experienced a week total of the winters here, but one thing I know is that you have to bring a lot of clothes. A lot of jackets. A lot of sweaters. Layer up. Usually, you’re probably going to ruin a pair of shoes when you walk out so you gotta bring a couple of pairs of those. Yeah, the winters here are not the best but I think if you’re prepared for it you will survive.
For sure. And then the team has a long history with the city. The fans are super passionate.
Yeah, the city is great. It’s so much fun playing here and playing in Wrigley Field and going out there and seeing all the fans go crazy cheering for us, win or lose. Just in my short time here, I’ve had a blast interacting with them. I think the city of Chicago wants a championship and the group we have now is very capable of doing that.
You’re only 23 years old and yet you have all of these fans and aspiring players looking up to you. In some cases, they’re actually older than you are. What’s that been like for you?
It’s surreal just because I grew up looking up to these guys and now I’m playing on the same field as they used to play on. I think that’s all you can really ask for, is that you go out there and be a good role player for the kids out there, do things the right way, treat people right, and really show them how to go about playing the game of baseball.
How do you deal with the fame at such a young age?
I don’t really focus on it too much. It’s kind of different just walking down the street and having someone ask for your autograph. But I’m very thankful for the life that I have and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
How did you deal with the doubts—maybe from yourself and from others—to get to this level so quickly?
First off, I didn’t really look into what other people were saying about me. There are always going to be people out there that doubt your abilities and what you can and can’t do. Everybody has an opinion, but I think the only one that matters is the one you have and your brain and what you think of yourself. For me, it was always just about working as hard as I can and having fun with it and not even really thinking about the negativity out there because there is so much of it in the world today that you really can’t waste your energy focusing on that.
Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney