With the world becoming more globalized every day, it was only a matter of time before sneaker companies from overseas started planting roots on U.S. soil. And this week, some of those seeds will finally come to fruition. Beginning on Friday, August 13, Baron Davis and Li-Ning‘s BD Doom line of footwear and apparel will be available in over 60 Champs Sports stores along the West Coast. After getting up with the Beardman himself this Spring for Dime #56, we talked about his BD Doom shoe, the response around the League and the buzz in Los Angeles. Check out the exclusive interview below.
Dime: So tell me about the BD Doom. How it is different from shoes you’ve worn in the past?
Baron Davis: It helps a lot when you cut, because I’m the type of player that likes to make sharp cuts. It’s more like a power-based shoe, but it’s not heavy like a lot of the other shoes that I’ve worn throughout my career. With the herringbone style sole, it allows me to kind of have that explosion and that lift. I think it’s one of the best shoes that I’ve ever worn. It’s good to have your own shoe, and it’s even better when it’s perfect for my game.
Dime: How have they performed this season?
BD: If you can improve your movement and your quickness by half a percent, then you gain that much more of an advantage. And I think from last year, just wearing regular Li-Nings to now having my own customs, ultimately my numbers started going up and it’s improved my style of play. Plus, I’m growing more into to like a grounded game â€“ I’m not dunking on a lot of people anymore. So you see me more cutting and trying to shake people up, so I need that pop, that torque and my shoe has given me that.
Dime: What’s the response been in the locker room and around the League?
BD: Crazy! We were playing Cleveland, and LeBron looked at me and he was like, “Yo, BD! Why are your shoes better than everybody else’s?” (laughs) So that was a compliment there, and every time I’m on the court guys are coming up being like, “What are those B?” I think I’ve signed like over 50 pairs of shoes for dudes, and I’ve never ever signed shoes for anybody. So I think that’s also a compliment when guys want autographed shoes, knowing that they’re authentic, they’re fresh and the style’s impeccable.
Dime: Have guys talked to you about wearing your shoes?
BD: Absolutely. There’s a lot of dudes â€“ guys with contracts as well. But they’re just like, “Give me a pair of them so I can rock ’em.” And I think that’s more of a compliment to me than them wanting to wear them on the court. Knowing that they are in deals with other shoe companies, the fact that they just want to rock mine with a pair of jeans is letting you know that the shoe translates both on and off the court.
Dime: What about off the court. Are you guys working on some lifestyle stuff?
BD: We have. We’ve got some cool stuff coming. When I’m talking about off the court, it’s the stuff that I wear. It’s stuff that I would go into the store and look at and say, “I wanna buy those.” Or if I see somebody with some shoes that maybe aren’t name brand, I might just want to take the tongue or different accents of the shoe and apply it to our model. So when you see our lifestyle shoe it’ll be more fashion-forward, and something that people are going to want to also play basketball in.
Dime: Clearly back home in L.A., that’s where fashion talks. What are people saying there?
BD: They’re going crazy. They want these jackets too. So when I get home, they’re going to expect a lot. In L.A. like you said, a lot of fashion trends takeoff and a lot of fashion brands have been successful being able to penetrate the L.A. market. Being a young guy who went to college there and being in the NBA living in L.A., I’ve always been able to kind of hang with all the young and up-and-coming fashion people and kept them abreast of what we’re doing over here. All the sneaker stores are asking, “When can we get a special limited edition shoe?” They’re looking for anything. We’ve been prepping and getting ready to target that L.A. market for a big explosion, and I think that the community is ready too. The kids are going crazy over it, and the kids pretty much dictate the trends.
Dime: What can we expect from the BD Doom II?
BD: Those are going to be sweet. I think the Doom II will be a little bit more, I want to say, sophisticated. A little bit more classic as far as a traditional basketball shoe. It’s pretty funky. It’s like a shoe that you can almost wear with a tuxedo, and that’s kind of like what we were coming up with. We wanted to have a high performance shoe going into next season that you can wear on the court, but that you could also wear with jeans or a suit.
Follow Aron on Twitter at @the_real_aron.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.