Sunday Sole Star- Nike Air Max CW

1- Nike Air Max CW

After creating a stir at Michigan as part of the “Fab Five” and becoming the first overall pick in the 1993 NBA draft, Chris Webber made even more waves winning the Rookie of the Year award in Golden State. But it wasn’t until his trade to Washington when C-Webb got a signature shoe. It was done in 3 colorways during his time with the Bullets. After Webber and Nike parted ways, it would be retroed under the name, “Air Max Sensation” in many new colorways. OG or retro, either way it’s a GREAT looking shoe, and today’s Sunday Sole Star.

words by Todd Krevanchi (@krvanch)

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The Birth of the Air Jordan Player Exclusive

Players having a shoe endorsement deal is nothing new. It’s been going on for decades. Players having their own signature shoe is also nothing new. In fact, it’s becoming quite a regular occurrence in today’s NBA. As the player garners a level of popularity and success as well, shoe companies produce for them a Player Exclusive colorway. Essentially a VIP NikeID. I’d go as far as saying the PE is becoming more of the rule than the exception.

Outside of LeBron James and the literally hundreds of PE’s he’s played in over the years, the PE’s which get the most interest and hype are the Air Jordan PE’s worn by various Team Jordan members over the years and across sports.

Michael Jordan played in an era when virtually every colorway of every shoe he played in was a general release and available to anyone who wanted to buy it. If you’re like me, you probably still have most of those in your closet from their original release (or any number of the retro re-issues). We can only imagine in hindsight what Air Jordan PE’s there would have been if Nike and Jordan Brand operated similarly for Michael as they do now for any number of players.

But when was the Air Jordan PE born? Where was the Air Jordan PE born? What was the the G.O.A.T.’s first Air Jordan PE? I say we can pinpoint Michael’s very first PE to September 6, 1986 and an Air Jordan II.

The North Carolina Tar Heels first called the Dean E. Smith Center home on January 18, 1986, but the venue wasn’t dedicated until September later that year. Part of the dedication included the Carolina Pro Alumni basketball game. It was in this game that we got to see MJ stunt his first pair of Air Jordan II’s, essentially the White/Varsity Red/Black colorway instead featuring a Carolina (or Columbia) back tab.

UNC Pro Alumni Game AJ II 1

UNC Pro Alumni Game AJ II 2

UNC Pro Alumni Game AJ II 3

After a year of playing in Chicago and finding his preference of the Air Jordan II low to its high counterpart, Jordan was asked to play in another such game, the Collegiate Legends Classic held on June 28, 1987 in Pauley Pavilion. The game featured legends of the college and pro hardwood from UCLA and North Carolina. Jordan had just enjoyed his most successful offensive season in the league and for the most part BECAME the Michael Jordan we’d come to expect for the remainder of his career. Outfitted with MacGregor/Sand Knit uniforms (with no last names, nor logos), and a nationally televised broadcast, the phenomena that was becoming “Air Jordan” brought his A Game along with the second pair of Air Jordan II PE’s (in my eyes, perhaps one of the nicest looking PE’s ever).

Michael Jordan II 1

Michael Jordan II 2

Jordan led the Carolina Alumni in scoring (of course) and to a win against the Wizard of Westwood.

We’d think that the first Air Jordan PE would have been some Chicago Bull White/Red/Black colorway, and really, it probably should have been, but it’s really something to look back and see it was developed out of necessity for his Alma Mater in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Words by Todd Krevanchi (@krvanch)

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What the movie “Road House” has to do with Kevin Durant, Under Armour and Nike.

One of my favorite “guilty pleasure” movies is Patrick Swayze’s “Road House”. It’s one of those flicks that no matter what I’m watching or doing, I’m almost guaranteed to stop to invest my time in Dalton’s antics.

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As a “Cooler” Dalton was one of the best in the business and was working in top flight bars and night clubs, but like any man, was always a Free Agent when it came to where he hung his hat… so long as the price was right.

Frank Tilghman owned the “Double Deuce” bar and wanted the best, so he sought out Dalton to be his premier “Cooler” and re-build his business. It wasn’t much of a negotiation as initially, Dalton has this to say:

Dalton: Wade Garrett’s the best.
Tilghman: Wade Garrett’s getting old.
Dalton: He’s still the best.
Tilghman: I want you.
Dalton: $5,000 up front. $500 a night, cash. You pay all medical expenses.

The year was 1989. I’m no economist, but I’m thinking that taking inflation into consideration on a 5 night work week, that the $5,000 signing bonus AND $10,000 a month to be a cooler in a Kansas City honky-tonk was CRAZY cash by today’s (or any) standards.

So, what am I getting at here? What does “Road House” have to do with KD?

Let’s figure out the players here. Dalton is KD. Nike is Bandstand (the nightclub Dalton initially is working at). Kevin Plank is Frank Tilghman. Under Armour is the Double Deuce. LeBron James will play the role of Wade Garrett.

Durant is coming off an MVP season and his 4th scoring title in the last 5 seasons. He is among the best 2 or 3 players in the NBA right now depending upon who you talk to. He is elite. LIKE Frank Tilghman, Kevin Plank wants to liven up his business and offers, what he feels, is an offer Durant can’t refuse and Nike can’t match. LIKE Frank Tilghman, he doesn’t go after THE best, in LeBron. Wade Garrett was old. LeBron perhaps untouchable. UNLIKE Frank Tilghman, Plank looks to have come up on the short end of the stick in his plea to score the next best thing.

Tilghman knew he didn’t want the best in Wade Garrett, but was fine paying Dalton what I’ll call “LeBron money”. Apparently Plank was fine throwing “LeBron money” at KD even if the numbers weren’t supportive of a positive return on investment in the Under Armour basketball stable.

Do you put all your eggs in one basket, roll the dice, every other cliche in the book and just pay out of the ass to one guy to gain market share? Plank and Tilghman both thought so. Tilghman got Dalton, cleaned up his bar AND his community, ridding it of the awful Brad Wesley. Unfortunately, Garrett lost his life in mix. Plank reportedly has lost in his bid for Durant, but will maintain a solid brand with incredible technologies and a handful of well known athletes endorsing product. The community? After this, my guess is you’ll find more of the power players seriously entertaining these offers as their shoe contracts expire. Hell, why wouldn’t you? Team loyalty has come and gone, endorsements are no different… especially now in the kick game. Oh, and LeBron? He’ll, be just fine.

kp

Plank and Tilghman have a lot in common in that they simply wanted to buy their way into relevance. Each went after the same guy with the same energy and the same type of offer. One won, one lost. And Kevin Plank doesn’t have to worry about writing that $285,000,000 check. Was it smart on Under Armour’s behalf to offer this amount? Was it smart on Nike’s behalf to match? I guess that all depends on who you are and what you’re analyzing. In the long run, the consumer will be impacted in the way his signature product will be presented to us simply to justify the contract, but this would have happened no matter where KD ended.

For Plank, on to Plan B…

Words by Todd Krevanchi (@krvanch)

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Why I love the Zoom Vapor 9 Tour – Air Jordan III, but wouldn’t buy it.

Tonight, at the US Open, we saw a conglomeration of two of the greatest of all time in their craft… actually three.

Michael Jordan, Roger Federer, and the link between the two, Tinker Hatfield.

The partnership between the two legends of Nike Tennis and Basketball is bridged by the legend in Nike design using features from his iconic Air Jordan III design and placing them upon his recent Zoom Vapor 9 Tour silhouette. The use of these two silhouettes and design elements is almost a perfect marriage.

zoom vapor 9 iii

Full disclosure, I’ve never been one for any type of mash-up or hybrid at all, and I’ve been very outspoken on my disgust with what I call “the bastardization of signature Air Jordans”. The Spizike. 6-17-23. You know, taking some of the Jordan line’s most popular features and making pedestrian LEGO creations .

But this is different. This is artistry.

And it doesn’t mean I’ll buy it.

Think about it, what would you wear?

Take the Zoom Vapor 9 Tour for example. Let’s look at it from a silhouette standpoint, strictly by silhouette. It mostly resembles the Air Jordan XIX low. You remember that right? It was essentially this shoe, 10 years ago.

white cement low

And these two shoes are doing what? Trying to recapture the visual audience using one of Nike’s most recognizable design elements.

But something is still drawing our eye to the Zoom Vapor 9 Tour, and by all accounts it’s simply adding the Air Jordan III elements to the shoe. Something that Mache and JBF working together could do. So, what are we looking at? The world’s greatest custom?

Yes, I love the look of the Zoom Vapor 9 Tour – Air Jordan III hybrid. It’s nice. It’s fresh. It has clean lines. It’s lighter. It’s just really, REALLY nice. But when it all comes down to it, if I want to wear a shoe that looks like that, that has all those design elements and an Air Jordan on the tongue, well, I know what I’d rather wear…

Air Jordan III white cement

Words by Todd Krevanchi (@krvanch)

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Best of 2013 (30-21)

In November, the great guys at Finish Line asked me to put together a list of my favorite releases during the 2013 calendar year. I didn’t have too much time to compile my list, but I was able to submit a (hopefully) respectable representation of the year in kicks… at least to my taste buds. A few of you on social media had asked to see my complete listing. Historically, I am a Nike guy, however this year I began to open my eyes to other brands and appreciate their silhouettes and colorways. Yes, my list is pretty much Nike-centric, yet had I kept record throughout the year, I’m certain that wouldn’t have been the case. In addition, I kept a keen eye on some of the great collaborations throughout the year that boutiques and designers were able offer us. I’m missing a lot by my own admission, but I hope you enjoy. I’ll offer 10 at a time, culminating with my absolute Best of 2013, again, in my eyes.

30.

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Shoe: Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski

Colorway: Digi Floral

Release Date: May 2013

Narrative: The standard silhouette of the Janoski takes a page out of the generic “boat shoe”. A silhouette which will look great with denim and khaki no matter what the colorway. Throwing a “floral” pattern on almost any shoe is a gamble. The digi floral on this shoe simply works as if to say, “Of course there’s a floral colorway.” and it will still look great with denim or khakis.

29.

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Shoe: Nike Air Foamposite

Colorway: White

Release Date: March 2013

Narrative: I am not a fan of the Foamposite. I’ve never been a fan. I am a fan of white colorways though. The only thing which would have made this colorway better would have been if it was more of a “matte white”. Clean lines, clean look.

28.

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Shoe: Lunarglide+ 5

Colorway: n/a

Release Date: June 2013

Narrative: Lunarlon midsole. Flywire. And (the first of a bunch of shoes using) Engineered Mesh. Great technologies packed in to one with a relatively nice looking heel counter as well. The Lunarglide+ 5 makes this list not due to any specific colorway, yet as a complete package of technology, form and function.

27.

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Shoe: Air Jordan IV “Toro Bravo”

Colorway: Fire Red

Release Date: June 2013

Narrative: As I stated before that I’ve never been a fan of the Foamposite, however this is just the opposite. The Air Jordan IV is my absolute favorite shoe of all time. Although I have my own opinions on “lifestyle” colorways for performance footwear, the Toro Bravo balances that line. Great color blocking. Great silhouette. Great execution. Flashy with not too much flash.

26.

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Shoe: Nike Kobe VIII “ASG Area 72”

Colorway: Citrus/Turquoise

Release Date: February 2013

Narrative: As the Lunarglide+ 5 made this list based exclusively on the silhouette and technologies it offered, the Kobe VIII “Area 72” makes this list strictly based on the colorway. The look of flowing lava paired with the subtle teal combines for a great look.

25.

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Shoe: Nike Air Tech Challenge II

Colorway: Wimbledon/US Open

Release Date: Summer 2013

Narrative: In 2013, one of Nike’s premiere endorsers made his way back to Beaverton and the Swoosh started to take full advantage of that. They started off with two incredible colorways released in conjunction with Tennis’ two Summer majors. One steeped in tradition and with strict uniformity rules, the other, more of a rock and roll atmosphere encouraging it’s participants to let their hair down, total NYC. Each shoe perfectly representative of the tournament.

24.

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Shoe: Air Jordan III

Colorway: Fire Red

Release Date: August 2013

Narrative: Some may ask, “How is this shoe not ranked higher? It’s a III right?” Well, right, but I’m not sure it would have made my list at all if it wouldn’t have been for the fact that MJ was wearing this shoe when he pulled off one of my all time favorite dunks of his… when he rolled over Kelly Tripucka and the Charlotte Hornets. Still gives me goosebumps…

23.

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Shoe: KD VI

Colorway: Bamboo

Release Date: September 2013

Narrative: I’m coming around on the silhouette of the KD VI with virtually almost every wild ass colorway. As I said before, I’m not big on lifestyle colorways on performance shoes. When it comes to performance basketball, I prefer a white or black base accented with a team color. The KD is changing that. And this Bamboo colorway blew me away from when I first saw it upon the KD VI release. Great colors and arrangement.

22.

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Shoe: Nike Air Max I FB Woven

Colorway: White Gold

Release Date: October 2013

Narrative: I’ve often said that the perfect silhouette is the Air Max I… or the Air Force 1… or the, well, you get the picture. In my opinion a gum outsole does a lot for a shoe. In fact, it can make some shoes better. The gold on the all white upper isn’t gaudy, it isn’t tacky, it’s exactly what this shoe needed and it perfectly complements the materials used.

21.

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Shoe: Nike Air Force 1

Colorway: Arctic Green

Release Date: July 2013

Narrative: The Air Force 1 lends itself to virtually an infinite amount of outstanding colorways and this is one of those. The Arctic Green would only work with suede and again, the gum sole does it. Now, let’s release the Salmon colorway… please?

Words by Todd Krevanchi (@krvanch)

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Welcome to Brannock

You may have never heard of Charles Brannock. You may have never heard of his invention, the “Brannock Device”. You do, however, know what a “Brannock Device” is and have used one throughout your lifetime dating back to when you were just a toddler. A regular guy, with a regular product that just so happened to become an industry standard since 1926.

Ok, so, “Todd, what exactly is ‘Brannock’?” Well, in all honesty, I’m not quite sure what it will be “exactly” yet. Will it simply be a blog for the “regular” guy & girl outlining general musings, opinions, pop-culture, observations and other nonsense? Will it be a blog for the sneaker industry? Will it be something entirely different altogether? At this point, I’m not quite sure.

What I can tell you is this.

  • I am new to this.
  • I am unsure of blogging code (written or unwritten), etiquette, ethics, or any other “procedure” besides just writing.
  • I am unsure of how often I will be able to offer new content because “life happens” (work, gym, recreation, other obligations, etc). But I’d hope to be able to contribute somewhat regularly as the the inspiration hits.

This is me taking the drop. Now let’s see where this wave takes me…

 

Words by Todd Krevanchi (@krvanch)

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