As we discussed last month, the NBA and Nike will be making some changes to the jersey that each team wears, and the roll-out of San Antonio’s new unis is almost upon us. In preparation for a season with lots to talk about on the uniform front, and with the always-ongoing conversation about the shoes players wear, I thought it would be a good idea to bring on some writers who love the Spurs as well as the gear they wear.
To introduce some of the new names to you, I asked three of them to give me their thoughts on what they expect from a Nike Spurs uniform, as well as what they see in Kawhi Leonard’s shoe game.
1. Nike's proposed uniform changes
Michael Flores: I am actually on board with these changes. Most, if not all teams have at least 3-4 uniforms as is -- some more than others, such as the Cavs and Raptors. I also might be among the minority who enjoy seeing teams wearing dark colored/road/alternate unis at home. When the Spurs wore black last Christmas, it almost felt like I was playing a game of 2k.
I'm also interested to see what the 3rd and 4th uniform options will consist of. It appears one of those is "Community Inspired" and if so, the community here in San Antonio has been dying to see a Fiesta themed uniform for some time now. Every year a new fan-made version makes its way around social media only for everyone to feel let down by something they know will never happen.
If Eve took a bite of the Forbidden Fruit, one day we'll get a Fiesta themed uni. Amen.
Cory Munoz: I’ve been a huge Nike fan since I was a kid, so my belief in their research and technology might be biased. The proposed changes to the structure of each jersey like the deeper arm holes, the design of the sleeves and the breathe-ability will give the NBA a sleek look on-court. We saw how popular the fit of the jerseys was when Nike incorporated the design into some college programs and also Team USA.
The names of the designs seem a little cheesy to me with the Association and Icon editions, but the concepts aren’t any different from what Nike did with the NFL. I honestly hope the Spurs are one of the eight teams that gets a Classic edition uniform, but I would (and I might be in the minority on this one) like to see the old fiesta logo colors incorporated into the community design later on. The concept of the four uniforms is a great money-maker for the league, but I think the Association edition of the jerseys will get lost in the mix of flamboyant color schemes. The addition of the shoes, compression apparel, socks and wristbands will be a great tie-in for the uniforms once each team’s concepts are revealed.
Ben Wiese: It’s safe to assume that Nike won’t be changing the logo or the primary color scheme. The Spurs, Warriors, Lakers, Bulls, and Celtics probably have the least to worry about, seeing as they are among the most iconic franchises in sports. However, some changes are coming, and it’s probably more than just eliminating sleeved jerseys that just made everyone look like they were ready for a pajama party.
Some fans might clamor for fiesta colors to make a return in some form, and that’s a valid request, seeing how important The Spurs are in the culture of San Antonio. However, fans shouldn’t count on fiesta pink, teal and orange to play a considerable role in the future look of the franchise.
Prediction: With Nike creating a “Community Edition” uniform, look for the Spurs to have a jersey that looks like that George Gervin uniforms of old. No, not the short shorts necessarily, but with San Antonio spelled out across the chest and forming a long arc. The Alamo might be difficult to implement, the fiesta colors might be too bold, but few will argue that the Iceman jerseys wouldn’t be a fresh look in today’s game.
2. Kawhi's shoes so far in his career
Flores: Early in his career, Kawhi would frequently be seen wearing Nikes and Retro Jordans. Some notable Nikes he wore include the Kobe 7, Foamposite, and Penny 1; as for Jordans, some retros include the 3s, 5s, 6s, 11s, 12s, 13s and 14s. Most, if not all of these shoes were general releases that anyone could pick up at their local Footlocker any given Saturday. Nothing out of the ordinary for avid sneaker enthusiasts, but still a bit impressive to say the least.
It wasn't until Kawhi officially confirmed having been signed to Jordan Brand where things got very interesting -- in addition to garnering "The Claw" nickname. Since the signing, Kawhi has mostly donned Player Exclusive colorways of sneakers such as the Jordan XX8 SE, Jordan 30, and for majority of last season, the Jordan 31 -- all stamped with his clever "Claw" logo. Personally, that logo makes the sneaker better than what they are. Also helps that the Spurs sport the basic Black and White because that makes for the shoes to be simple, and not too hard on the eyes.
Aside from these shoes mentioned, I feel they do not come close to the Holy Grails he wears off the court! Granted, we all know Kawhi is as humble and subtle and the least bit of flashy both when it comes to his on-court game, and his style of dress, but I would not be against seeing him wear some of the rare PEs he has stashed somewhere in his modest home or '98 Tahoe.
All gold Jordan 11s and 12s; White/Royal Blue 11s; Black/Gold 13s; White/Gold 6s with the Claw Logo; All red low top 2s. And these are just the shoes he has been seen in; it doesn't help that he is not often seen in the media or public.
With his status in the league, it's safe to say he can get any shoe in any color he desires and I just wish he maximized on this the way a future legend by the name of Ray Allen did -- who arguably has the greatest Personal Edition collection in Jordan Brand history.
Munoz: Kawhi’s shoe game is something I’ve been noticing since his days at San Diego State. I’m a New Mexico Lobos fan, so I’ve seen quite a few games of Kawhi’s during his college time. He has always had a great reputation for rocking some great Jordan Brand retroes, but once the Finals MVP trophy was his; his Personal Edition game grew. The white/gold colorway of the Jordan Retro 6s he rocked during the 2014-2015 season might be my favorite pair of his so far. I think it speaks volumes about his low-profile demeanor off the court by the Spurs black, silver and white Jordan XXX and XXXI PE’s he’s rocked in the past two seasons. I believe his self-designed Klaw logo looks great on any of the retroes or PE’s Kawhi has worn in his career. Plus, with the Nike Air Command Force and Nike Air Max Duncan worn by David Robinson & Tim Duncan, respectively, Nike and JB have seen how successful a featured shoe can do with a Spurs player rocking them!
Weise: The face of the franchise is quite the dichotomy. He is quiet, understated, not nearly as high-maintenance as his superstar counterparts, yet his shoes match up with just about anyone else’s in the league.
After his rookie season, Kawhi flipped his original look of black shoes for home games to white shoes for away games, and as a result his Personal Edition Jordans are synonymous with him becoming the face of the Spurs. Like Aldridge, Kawhi mixes in classic Jordans with the new, but instead of merely being a Jordan athlete, he’s arguably the best Jordan athlete in the world.