When talking to famed Nike designer Leo Chang on Wednesday night, we were struck by something he said about Kyrie Irving‘s cotinuous movement on the hardwood. After Chang watched film and broke down what Irving was looking for in his first signature shoe, the KYRIE 1, he saw that Irving’s feet would sometimes get almost parallel to the floor on a particularly quick cut. While we don’t have a fraction of the quickness — or really anything else related to Cavs point guard — in our game, we did get to try the Kyrie 1 later in the night.
Before hitting the court at the luxurious school gym on 10th Avenue — the same place where we tried the Kobe 9 Elite’s with Tim Grover — we crowded into a packed Chelsea Gallery. Upon entering we encountered a number of Nike doodads and paraphernalia most would recognize, including the ‘Lil Penny puppet, a framed copy of the iconic Nike Supreme Court photo, a pair of signed Air Jordan 1s, a print of a still from the Charles Barkley vs. Godzilla commercial and a lot more.
It was there — framed by cameras and security personnel, who all looked like former NFL linebackers — where we got to watch Kenny Smith, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and Charles Barkley introduce the man of the hour and the latest Nike signature athlete, Kyrie Irving.
“As a kid, imagining that I’d be in the Nike family with my own shoe was something that seemed almost unattainable,” said Irving during the presentation and Q&A with former Nike greats.
“Now that I’ve received the KYRIE 1 I’m honored to represent Nike and its next generation of players.”
As for the little nuggets of personal information adorning the new signature shoe, it sports a new Kyrie Irving logo on the shoe’s tongue; hand-written details in Irving’s penmanship including a No. 2 on the upper heel along with his personal signature on the inside of the tongue — something he told us was not included in the first prototype he wore at his summer camp this past offseason.
There’s also a jagged pattern on the wrapped traction near the toe and heel counter with architectural angles inspired by the Sydney Opera House from Kyrie’s homeland of Australia.
The acronym “JBY” also rests beneath Irving’s new logo on the outsole, and stands for “Just Be You,” a tenet Irving hopes inspires kids as they establish their own unique identities. Kyrie is pretty comfortable in his own skin as he said numerous times on stage during the unveiling, and we don’t blame him.