Basketball fanatics, sneakerheads and members of the media – including the SLAM Fam have definitely been getting a lot of treats from the good folks at Nike Philippines over the first quarter of 2017. The Swoosh invited over 150 lucky athletes over the past three months to take the court and be part of the lucky first in the country to test-run the latests kicks of the brand’s signature athletes.
First it was the Kyrie 3, then the PG 1, and now, we had the chance to try out LeBron James’ 14th signature shoe. Though it took some time for it to reach our shores, just the way it looks meant it was definitely worth the wait.
To celebrate the launch, close to 70 lucky consumers were invited to take part in the #ComeOutOfNowhere Experience, held Saturday at the Kerry Sports Arena. It was a chance for them to not only try out the new LeBron 14, but to go through a workout, lead by the FEU Tamaraws, and their new head coach, Olsen Racela.
The event tipped off with EKIN, Nike Product Expert, Soy Soriano taking the mic to go through the innovations incorporated in the shoe. Soriano mentioned that the four-time MVP was more hands-on than ever in designing his latest signature sneaker. James said that he wanted something that looked sleeker, yet distinct on the court, while at the same time, it needed to have details connected to his personal life and journey to greatness.
Check out some of the fine details on the shoe:
B.B.Z. – First letters of LeBron’s three kids, Bronnie Jr. (who has currently been killing it and is starting to look a lot like his dad on the court), Bryce and Zhuri.
330 – Akron, Ohio’s area code, which is where LeBron grew up.
3xWC – Three-time World Champion
SFG – Strive For Greatness, LeBron’s tagline.
Plyr No. XXIII Est. 1984 – LeBron’s jersey number, 23, and the year he was born.
Mdl No. XIV Est. 2016 – Shoe model number 14 and the year it was launched (at least in the States).
If you already have your own pair, I challenge you to spot all of them. If you haven’t gotten your pair yet, better make your way to Titan or a Nike store now to get yourself one!
Moving on to the technology used on the LeBron 14, there’s a reason why it’s being called the most innovative basketball sneaker right now in the market. Between a one-piece upper, a mid-foot strap and the partitioned Zoom Air units, all of these features not only make the shoe look aesthetically pleasing, but also play important roles in improving functionality and overall feel.
During the #ComeOutOfNowhereExperience, Coach Olsen Racela took charge of the workout, inspired by LeBron James’ style of play, for each athlete to really get the feel the benefits of the technology used in the shoe. The LeBron 14 was designed specifically for The King, but he wanted everyone to be able to wear them too, no matter what position they play.
Coach Olsen told us at the beginning of the session that he would not only take LeBron’s play as inspiration for the day’s workout, but he would also make everyone run drills his team does in their regular practices.
Just the warm-up already made everyone work up a sweat. From there, four stations were set up – dribbling, shooting, low-post, and agility, which athletes went through for twelve minutes each.
Our group started at the dribbling station, which many thought would just be a breeze. What’s so hard about dribbling a ball? Basic! But they made us dribble two for six minutes straight – fast-paced dribbling with different variations, no breaks in-between, and then another six minutes for high-intensity dribbling moves.
Despite close to 70 participants on the court at the same time, all of the FEU players, including guys like Hubert Cani and Jojo Trinidad, paid close attention to each and everyone, to make sure they were executing the drills correctly.
After completing all stations and just before concluding the session, Coach Olsen called up two athletes to shoot free throws. If they missed a shot, everyone would have to run. This put them in a game-like situation where pressure was high and a lot was on the line. A valuable lesson Coach Olsen thought us here is the true meaning of being a team. Each and every player should step up to help his squad. If one fails to do so, everyone suffers. Luckily for all of us, the two volunteers made their shot.
LeBron’s one of the best players we’ve ever seen play the game, and it can be hard to imagine how a shoe can hold up to his strength and explosiveness on the court. Through the variety of the drills ran in this unique event, we can say that Nike has created a shoe fit for the versatility of the King. It surely was great to get a first-hand experience on what LeBron does as he strives for greatness.
This is just the start of a four-week journey for us members of the media. In the upcoming weeks, similar to what our SLAM Fam, Nikko and Jutt had to go through for the Kyrie 3 and PG 1, respectively, we will take part in a series of workouts with FEU coaches to hopefully come out of nowhere and be at the same level they are in. Just hopefully. It’s an opportunity I’m truly grateful to have, and and I’m looking forward to be part of the #ComeOutOfNowhere Experience.
Photos c/o Vic Sebastian