Tonight, the Brooklyn Nets play the Oklahoma City Thunder, led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It’s sure to be a great game for the Nets and test their strengths and endurance. Westbrook is a member of the Jordan Brand, though the company hasn’t been known for making too many big cultural waves when it comes to making news, and Westbrook is stylistically as counter-culture as NBA players get is. I’m mildly surprised.
Even more surprising? Westbrook will debut Jordan’s latest model from its signature collection, the Air Jordan XX8, tonight against the Brooklyn Nets.
I think the shoe’s equal parts brilliant and retro status quo. I don’t know what to think of Westbrook being in the shoe, beyond it being a flip on his usual fare, but he is an endorser and Jordan Brand member (as is Brooklyn Nets forward Gerald Wallace and guard Joe Johnson).
One of the great things about the Jordan basketball shoe legacy is that it either expounded on the culture of sneakers, or zigged when the industry zagged. In a sense, the Air Jordan XX8 does both, but it also stays aesthetically neutral. As techy and technical as it is (and there is a difference), the XX8 is par for the course. While the build of the XX8 is innovative, the look isn’t as advanced or pronounced as Jordan says. Certain characteristics of the XX8 have been seen in various ways, and it doesn’t really change the way footwear is seen, as a landmark. Experts and niche audiences will view Air Jordan as the best, because of its impact in performance, but its look is what makes the tech more relevant to players on the court.
In this case, Westbrook playing in an 8″-high sneaker is unique for him, but it doesn’t say much else for the aficionados of today.
(But hey, black looks great on the Nets. Maybe “G-Force” Wallace and “Iso-Joe” Johnson can make the shoe look a little cooler on the herringbone.)