The NBA All-Star Game comes to Chicago on February 16, and Nike (NKE), along with subsidiaries Jordan Brand and Converse, is looking to send a message of “unity” with its footwear and apparel collection for the game. Designers said they looked to the people of the host city to get a feel for what Chicago was all about.
“Everybody that we spoke to in Chicago had real pride in representing their city. And when we asked about this idea of unity and what is united in Chicago, we got two answers — basketball and the transit system,” said John Burlo, Jordan’s senior design director.
In that spirit, many of their NBA All-Star 2020 offerings embrace the colors of the Chicago transit system’s eight ‘L’ rail lines: red, blue, brown, green, orange, pink, purple and yellow.
“We wanted to have the essence of design by Chicago for Chicago,” said Jordan’s Israel Mateo, who helped design the collection. “I think that we all saw a lot of excellence, to bring Chicago up and uplift everyone in a different way through success and hard work. And that’s what we saw rooted in all these collaborations.”
Mateo introduced the Jordan 8x8 collection, which matches a special edition Jordan to the apparel line. Virgil Abloh, who is the creator and CEO of OFF-WHITE label, has collaborated with Nike in the past on several shoes. The OFF-WHITE edition of the Air Jordan Retro V ($225) is part of the new 8X8 collection.
The rest of the All-Star footwear collection includes special edition colorways of the LeBron 17 “Monstars’ from the upcoming movie ‘Space Jam 2’ ($225), PG 4, PG 4 ‘Gatorade’, the Jordan Women’s OG, Russell Westbrook’s Why Not? Zer0.3($130), Air Jordan XXXIV “Jordan Unite Collection” ($180), Air Jordan III Retro SE ($200), Converse All Star Pro BB ($140) and the newest version of Nike’s tech-enhanced self-lacing Nike Adapt BB 2.0, ($400)
Nike senior product director Dustin Tolliver highlighted the impact Chicago has had on the swoosh brand — and it’s due in no small part to the contributions of his legendary Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan.
“Chicago is really a launching pad for what the brand would become, and without what was happening in the city at that time, we might be a different brand today.”
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.