Ray Allen recounts how exhilarating his experience was as the first athlete on the Jordan Brand roster, how he was treated on par with Michael Jordan.
There are a number of NBA players with their signature shoes in today’s game. The likes of Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have made a ton of money for their sneaker companies with their respective lines.
However, the shoe game wasn’t always like this before. Modern innovation was absent from the industry. Players weren’t marketed alongside the shoes that they were expected to sell. You could get merchandising deals and lump sums of money every year, but that was it.
Michael Jordan changed this forever. His shoes became the coolest piece of streetwear that aficionados still pursue like the Holy Grail. It’s changed urban fashion forever, and it’s started off a new movement in the industry as a whole.
Ray Allen thanks Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand for giving him his stripes
Given that Ray Allen was the first player to ever sign under the Jordan Brand with Michael Jordan, it was something we’d never seen before. He got to debut Player Exclusives and signature shoes in the same vein as His Airness.
Allen, a sneakerhead who’s collected Nikes all his life, couldn’t be more thankful to Michael Jordan for his groundbreaking work. This is how he describes signing with the brand and sticking with it:
“It was nothing. They mentioned it to me, but I didn’t know what it was. It wasn’t something that we’d ever seen before, cuz I’d always worn Nike. So you know, I was like Imma wear Nike, but Jordan is gonna be an umbrella, or Nike is going to be an umbrella company for Jordan.”
Ray Allen previews an exclusive Air Jordan 1 Switch colorway for Jordan Brand athletes 🤐 pic.twitter.com/1TAc8NHHCj
— B/R Kicks (@brkicks) December 21, 2020
“So I’m all for it, I’m down you know, Jordan’s doing it, I wanna be a part of it. And you know, from where we were to where we are today it’s grown so much.”
“Jordan Brand made sure that we had our player exclusives. They made sure that it was something that was special to us. And that right there is a foresight that we were fortunate to be able to appreciate and get from our shoe company.”