For Damian Lillard, one of the best things about being named Rookie of the Year has to be the satisfaction he's feeling after achieving his NBA dreams. The second-best thing is probably getting a snazzy new shoe to commemorate the occasion.
Well, it's at least in the top five, anyway.
Sports brand adidas will be releasing a limited edition sneaker called the Real Deal, which is actually a retread from the late 1990s. But don't be mistaken; in terms of design, these bad boys are all new.
And all of the various patterns, symbols and colors have a unique connection to Lillard. Get ready, because adidas crammed more trivia into these kicks than you'd find in a full episode of Jeopardy.
For starters, Lillard's Twitter handle is embroidered on the sock liner. You know, because most folks look to the insides of their shoes for social media information. It used to be that the only thing you'd find inside the tongue of a shoe was its size, but we're clearly living in a different age now.
That feature is a little weird, but most of the others are cool shout-outs to Lillard's past.
The primary colors are red, purple and black, which represent the hues of his high school, college and professional teams. Plus, Lillard was a Wildcat in both high school and college, so the entire shoe is emblazoned with an animal print.
And if we head back inside the shoe, "9800s" is stitched into the liner to represent Lillard's old block. As if that weren't enough, a satellite map of the city of Oakland is also in there.
But wait, there's more!
"Townbiz," which is featured on both the upper and the tongue, is a nod to Lillard's Oakland roots. The same is true of the 510 (Oakland's area code) printed on the inside of the upper.
And those little clasped hands, hooked at the thumbs on the outside of the upper? Those represent Lillard's "Fly Guyz" crew from his neighborhood. They were best known for shooting hoops and liberally using the letter Z.
This shoe is so deeply tied to Lillard's roots that it wouldn't be surprising to find out that the leather was made from recycled baseballs retrieved from the old Oakland Coliseum. That last bit is probably a stretch, but with all of the thought that went into these sneakers, anything seems possible.
So congratulations, Mr. Lillard. You've got yourself a major NBA honor in the Rookie of the Year Award and a pair of shoes that wearers will need a glossary to explain to their friends.
If anyone needs me, I'll be patiently waiting for the release of J.R. Smith's next shoe. If the detail that went into Lillard's is any indication, Smith's might be composed entirely of glitter, those little green ribbons from bottles of Patron and ticket stubs from Rihanna concerts.
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