By now you know about our site troubles last week, so I decided to wait on recaping my trip to LA for the launch of the Nike Zoom Kobe V until now.
As you’ve seen before, when one of Nike’s premier athletes/signature guys has a new shoe dropping, they do it right. Among a hand-selected group of journalists from the finest outlets around, the low generation was introduced.
I know what you’re thinking: I already copped the Zoom Kobe IV, how low/light can the shoe get? Try 10.6 ounces. From MVP in 2008 to NBA Championship in 2009, it appears Kobe is gunnin’ for both in 2010.
After arriving Monday afternoon and grabbing a great meal at the rooftop restaurant in our hotel (definitely reccomend The Huntley in Downtown Santa Monica), we started off bright and early Tuesday morning at the legendary courts of Venice Beach.
I had already been out here this past summer when I came for the White Men Can’t Jump 2-on-2 Tournament, so the surroundings were familiar. In addition, many of the ever-present personalities were on hand as well to hold it down for an exhibition game on the brisk morning – with court emcee Mouthpiece (Dime #52) on hand running the show.
For the onslaught of press, Nick Ansom had assembled a group of local ballers ranging from Venice Basketball League (VBL) stars to streetball legends such Bone Collector. And the run was good. Despite the cold weather (by L.A. standards), all the guys were hooping in brand-new Air Max LeBron VIIs and Zoom Kobe IVs, while Mouthpiece took his time dishing out nicknames and spitting out hype.
At one point, O.G. baller Jay “Boogie” Brantley was called back out on the court to go head-to-head with Bone Collector in a crossover battle, as every time B.C. came down the court and did something nice, he exclaimed, “Too easy!” While Bone Collector did his work, Jay Boogie was also able to break his defender down.
From there, we hopped back on the bus and headed for lunch en route to the Forum for the worldwide premiere of the Zoom Kobe V.
Before the festivities kicked off, we were jetisoned back to the mid-80s as we sat in the Forum Club where Magic Johnson and Jack Nicholson used to put in time. (And I don’t mean behind the bar.) With enough snacks and candy to even put Lamar Odom in anaphylactic shock, and Kobe Doin’ Work on a box television that was manufactured before the advent of flat pannels and HD, life was good.
When it was time to enter the actual arena, making our way towards the floor, we were ready to go – but had no clue what we were in for.
The floor of the same stadium that Kobe called home during his rookie year had been transformed into a hybrid: half basketball hardwood, half soccer pitch. The visual was overpowering and really set the tone for the unveiling of Kobe’s new kicks.
After a brief highlight film, the Black Mamba himself emerged from the shadows, strutting across the sod that had been laid down in his brand-new Zoom Kobe Vs.
With Kevin Frazier as the emcee, Kobe proceeded to walk us through his newest creation along with the architects – both physical and metaphysical – Eric Avar (Nike Performance Footwear Creative Director) and Matt Nurse (Senior Researcher with the Nike Sports Research Lab).
“I wanted to push the envelope with a shoe that meets the demands of my style of play,” Bryant said. “The Kobe V is lighter, lower and more stable. Nike has done it again.”
After the presentation, we broke off into different groups, each taking some time to chat with Kobe, Eric and Matt. With rare 1-on-1 time with each individual, no questions went unasked or unanswered. Once things wrapped up, we headed back on the bus and back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
When you’re in L.A. you gotta ball like Kobe to get the complete experience, so we grabbed dinner at Philippe Chow’s in Beverly Hills. The place was definitely legit, and it seemed every time you put down your fork there was a new plate in front of you. In addition to the great food, it didn’t hurt to have Michael Rapaport in the house rocking a crisp, blue Yankees cap. Dude is a G.
When Wednesday hit, the hits didn’t stop. We got on the bus and headed to the MontalbÃ¡n Theatre in Hollywood, a unique Nike Sportswear venue like none other. After a presentation from Jeff Lyman about NIKEiD’s past, present and future, we delved into the Zoom Kobe V and it’s life online (and eventually in your closet).
Not only did we get to learn about the ZK5, but we also got to design a pair of our own! With NRF Basketball season in full swing, I of course wanted to design a pair to matchup with my new team’s jersey colorway, red, so that’s exactly what I did. (When they come into the office, I’ll be sure to post them up.)
The Zoom Kobe V has an amazing silhouette and a plethora of option on NIKEiD for you to mess with. From team colors to exclusive graphics, it’s no wonder that so many guys in the League – other than Kobe – rock his kicks.
One of the cool aspects of the Zoom Kobe V is the “Kobe code” that is on the side of the shoe. This code is a secret language that Kobe and the designers developed that fans will have the chance to decipher all season long, with different clues dropping along the way.
“DaVinci ain’t got nothing on that,” says Bryant. “It came from another dimension – the Nike dimension. I can’t wait to see if someone can crack the code.”
After the NIKEiD session, I headed up to the roof to check out the basketball court/indoor soccer setup they had going on there. Not to mention the amazing mural that MADSTEEZ did.
After our time at the MontalbÃ¡n, it was off to Ivy at the Shore on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica for lunch, and then time to drop in to see the fam at UNDFTD over on Main Street where I copped a pair of the Nike Air Toki TZs. Not a bad afternoon if you ask me.
Rounding out the experience was a trip to the Staples Center for the Lakers/Jazz game that night where Kobe put on a show. Leading the Lakers with 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds, the Lake Show won their 10th consecutive game, holding Utah to six points in the final 12 minutes.
What a trip.
The Nike Zoom Kobe V will be available first online with a unique NIKEiD retail campaign launching December 26, 2009. A broader global brick and mortar retail launch will occur January 1, 2010 in China and January 16, 2010 throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
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