ALPHAPROJECT: Jason Petrie’s alter ego, and the Air Jordan Evolution Project

Last night in Las Vegas, the highly anticipated, (yeah, like all of them haven’t been highly anticipated) Air Jordan XXXI was officially and publicly revealed. While photos leaked last week, yesterday marked the night when we’d be able to hear all about it. But this isn’t about that shoe. Well, it is and it isn’t. It’s more about the development of it from an idea to release.

Last night, sketches were issued showing the various stages of the XXXI and some of the inspiration behind it. gallery-1469063392-aj-31-sketches-2 Air-Jordan-31-Banned-7

I’ve always love the sketches… the storyboard of the shoe. What elements went into what. What objects in our world sparked a design feature. Everything. But I have to say that the guys at Jordan Brand dropped the ball on this one.

As some of you may know, in 1999, I helped with the creation of NikeTalk. The internet, still relatively new, had a handful of ‘somewhat’ reliable sites for pictures and information, but many of these, which operated as message boards, were littered with a bunch of ‘shit’ for lack of a better term. NikeTalk was designed to appeal to all sneakerheads of the time by doing so in a well run and well organized forum.

Flash forward to 2002. An aspiring sneaker designer who used the handle “ALPHAPROJECT” had garnered a lot of attention with his concepts and sketches. Very clean, VERY progressive and very representative of the “A L P H A Project” lineup of releases Nike was putting out at the time. I put the following challenge to “ALPHAPROJECT” about something I always wanted to see via a NikeTalk post:

Jordan I Evolution Question

Almost exactly 2 hours after having seen my request, this is what was submitted:

Jordan I Evolution Answer

“A lil’ something…”.

“I did this in an hour…”

It’s fucking genius. Let’s see this again… and be sure to read the comments for a little surprise.

Over the course of time, we got to find out that the man whose NikeTalk handle was  “ALPHAPROJECT” was really named Jason Petrie. We followed him. We rooted for him. Today, he is a household name for sneakerheads because of his work on the LeBron line.

Jason garnered quite the following based on many of the sketches he posted and invited us to see. A lot of his concepts from that era can still be considered forward, however we can see design elements from these early sketches:

  • The styling in the “Shoxposite Concept” looks to be a precursor to and an early representation of elements in the upper of the LeBron XI.Various. Jordan 18 Shoxposite Agassi
  • The “JUMP” sketch screams LeBron IX and XIII with the tri-blade boomerang styling in the transition from lateral to heel counter to collar.JUMP

We are now in an era where sneakers designers are becoming as popular, well, almost as popular as the players who wear their designs. Take a look back at Jason Petrie when he was just an “ALPHAPROJECT”…

Air Jordan 21 Drop Top

Air Jordan Coupe 23rKidd KobeFlight KobePosite 360 Max Shox A Shox B Vince Carter Shox

Sure, ALPHAPROJECT was a NikeTalk superstar, who became a FILA superstar who became a global superstar at Nike, when he reverted back to his Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne status. But 18 months to design the Air Jordan XXXI? C’mon guys, you’ve had it for 14 years in the design portfolio of one of your best designers.

While all of these sketches have been readily available on NikeTalk forever, it was this little “challenge”, made in the afternoon, then executed in the early AM the following morning in less than 2 hours which I’ll always remember. It was, and still looks today like the perfect marriage of the past the present and the future… and it was 14 years ago…

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Stuart Scott. 1965-2015

Stuart

I’ll have to admit, upon his arrival at ESPN in 1993, I wasn’t a fan of Stuart Scott. I was in college and still majoring in Communications. I was a Dan Patrick guy and looked at him as the standard. I thought a lot of what Stu included in his delivery was too much; that he was trying TOO hard to create his footprint.

As the years passed, I realized that he wasn’t creating his own personal footprint to stand out among industry giants, but was introducing and integrating an entirely new concept in the way news was delivered… conversationally… and in the conversational tone of a previously unrecognized demographic in national news reporting.

Subsequently, others followed his lead. Maybe not with the same flash or over-the-top catch phrases, but with their own conversational style.

His philosophy is probably not acceptable in all forms of news reporting, and that’s fine. But there is no doubt that he was a pioneer and trail blazer in a sense of how sports and entertainment news is broadcast today.

This morning we lost a great one.

Rest easy Stuart…

words by Todd Krevanchi (@krvanch)

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Sunday Sole Star- Nike Air Jordan I

6- Nike Air Jordan I

The mid 1980s was a launching pad for so much of what we know today and footwear was no different. The skate boom was riding an amazing wave and synthetic surfaces were taking over our sports. The Air Jordan I was such a crossover shoe in that it’s upper provided support and padding required for the days skaters and an outsole which was AstroTurf friendly. An iconic shoe which reached so many demographics and that makes it today’s Sunday Sole Star.

words by Todd Krevanchi (@krvanch)

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