Whenever Jordan Brand sends you an invite, you know it’s time to clear your calendar. So right before the start of 2012 I did just that. I knew the purpose of the trip to L.A. was to unveil Chris Paul‘s fifth signature shoe, the Jordan CP3.V, but other than that the agenda was a mystery. It’s time to pull back the curtain.
After arriving in Los Angeles yesterday morning from San Francisco, I was greeted at the airport by a driver holding a sign that read “PHILLIPS.” I don’t care how many times this happens, it never gets old. Turns out my driver had Phil Knight for a couple days while he was in town for the Rose Bowl, so he was excited to talk kicks with me en route to the hotel.
Next stop, Hollywood. Three days and two nights at the Hollywood Roosevelt is like recreating Entourage. And to further realize this scenario, we ended up watching the Clippers-Rockets game at Goal, a sports bar in West Hollywood co-owned by Jerry Ferrara (a.k.a. Turtle). This was cool and all, but nothing compared to what went down today.
To quote CP3, “WoW.” We rolled up to the Cooper Building in downtown L.A. and took the elevator to the 11th floor. We knew as soon as we walked in that we were in the right place owing to the giant Jumpman logo displayed on the wall.
Once we were inside, it was a trip down memory lane. In a beautiful studio space, Jordan Brand had setup a gallery showcasing the life of CP3. Some of the amazing artifacts included his Russell Rec. Center t-shirt, his West Forsyth High School jersey and family photos of him and his brother C.J. In three separate rooms – childhood, high school and college – you got to see the progression arriving at today.
After everyone had a chance to walk through, we sat down to hear from CP3 himself and designer Tom Luedecke. These two talk all year, meeting multiple times, before we get to see the finished product.
“I want to be the best at what I do,” said Paul, “and I was lucky and privileged to have Tom work on the shoe. Tom is always sketching while I’m talking. His brain just works like that.
“I actually feel like I’m cheating when I play in my shoe.”
“We looked at high speed video, his signature moves, leaps, cuts and in-game footage,” said Luedecke, who spent four-to-five hours with Paul in the Nike Sports Research Lab this summer. “To me, the performance is the aesthetic. Lot of details on here that are very specific.”
As Paul noted, many design elements in his signature shoes are often hidden and go unnoticed. For the Jordan CP3.V, there’s a five-bar gate of tally marks on the side of the shoe to signify his fifth iteration; there is a combination of nine, 10 and 11 dots on the back of the left shoe to signify the day he got married (Sept. 10, 2011); and the same for his son’s birthday (May 24, 2009) on the right. Also, paying homage to his love of tenpins, the bottom of every shoe has the size like the back of bowling shoes.
“Some of the stuff you wouldn’t even know its a design,” said Paul. “I’m very, very family oriented. To me, when I lace my shoes up, I like to take my family with me on the court.”
Growing up, Chris could play in any shoe, and the shoes he balled in were the same ones he wore to school. Hooping with his brother on the concrete in the backyard, the only thing he was worried about was the “quicksand” at the bottom of the hill. (If you’re ever in Lewisville, N.C., you can apparently still find 12 basketballs in the mud today.)
While there is no “Quicksand” colorway dropping just yet, sneakerheads will be excited to hear about the color options releasing for the Jordan CP3.V. The initial launch on Jan. 11 will consist of the black and white/black colorways, while a special pink version will be seen through Jordan Brand’s college ranks – North Carolina, Georgetown, Marquette and Cal – for Coaches vs. Cancer.
The next version after that will be an all-red version for Chris to wear during the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 26 in Orlando, followed by an old gold and black version for CP’s alma mater, Wake Forest, to wear in March. And for all you Clipper fans out there, Jordan Brand will be releasing the CP3.V in white/blue and white/red in May.
As Luedecke pointed out, it’s not enough to simply look good when it comes to coloring a shoe – you want “link a story to the color.” With that in mind, there are three other colorways of the Jordan CP3.V that stand out from the rest.
First, there is a green/yellow player exclusive for Chris’ high school, West Forsyth, that the team will wear sometime this season. Second is a two-shoe pack releasing this summer called Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is really telling people who I am,” said Paul. “I’m two totally different people on the court and off the court. On the court, you wouldn’t be one of my friends.”