- New series to uncover sneaker culture at intersection of sports, entertainment and more
- Directed by award-winning filmmaker and author Bobbito García
- Special preview episode featuring NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo available now on ESPN+
- Seven-part series will premiere this fall exclusively on ESPN+
A special preview episode of SneakerCenter, a seven-part series devoted to sneaker culture across sports, entertainment and more, is available now exclusively on ESPN+. Told by the star athletes, artists, enthusiasts and brands powering the global sneaker marketplace, each episode of SneakerCenter will be anchored by a unique narrative, supported by a rotating set of “mix tape style” segments taking fans deep into every aspect of the sneaker movement. The series, directed by award-winning filmmaker and acclaimed author Bobbito García, will premiere in the fall.
The special preview episode of SneakerCenter features NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo as Nike prepares for the production and release of his first signature shoe, the Zoom Freak 1. SneakerCenter goes behind-the-scenes at Nike Headquarters where the design team shares the development process for the Zoom Freak 1, from the design inspiration rooted in the “Greek Freak’s” unique style of play to the collaboration with Antetokounmpo to test, refine and manufacture the shoe. The episode also takes fans to Greece where he returns to his hometown to share his story growing up as a Nigerian immigrant turned international basketball superstar.
In addition, SneakerCenter’s special preview includes brief segments examining the depths of sneaker culture and lifestyle, including:
OG – A look back at the shoes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the first great Milwaukee Bucks big man, who wore PRO-Keds when he first came into the League nearly 50 years ago.
Slept on Butters – A lesson about the Puma Sky LX shoes worn by Bucks’ All-Star Terry Cummings and teammate Paul Pressey in the 1980s. The Puma Sky LX was one of the hottest, yet underappreciated, models of that era.
1-of-1 – Portland-based sneaker customizer Jordan Chan-Mendez creates a unique “1-of-1” design on a pair of Kobe 4’s to be presented to Giannis.
Live at the BBQ – SneakerCenter correspondent Vashtie explores an exhibition on sneakers and New York City culture, curated by Drexel University sociologist and professor Sean Williams, along with live commentary from hip-hop stars whose footwear and flow helped to create the phenomenon.
The Hot Spot – In Portland, Ore., the owner-operator of Deadstock, a combination coffee shop and sneaker shrine, shows how he followed his sneakerhead passions to rise from janitor to successful entrepreneur.
Feet on the Street – What folks are rocking in Portland, Los Angeles, New York City and Athens, Greece.
Blindfold Test – SneakerCenter shares the unreleased Zoom Freak 1 with a group of unsuspecting ballplayers who provide their unfiltered response.
“Sneaker culture has a long and interesting history that all fans love, not just ballplayers and sneakerheads,” said García, a.k.a. Kool Bob Love. “Putting SneakerCenter on ESPN+ allows us to share those stories, to show fans a deeper layer into the origins of sneaker culture and where the global industry of sneakers will take us in the future. We will push the envelope. Give superstar athletes, creators and entertainers a chance to share their narratives in new and unique ways, but always through the story of their sneakers.”
The ESPN social team will cover every angle of SneakerCenter throughout the series with the @sneakercenter Instagram account, a new extension of a thriving, private Facebook group for sneakerheads.
About Bobbito García
DJ Bobbito García is an award-winning filmmaker and the critically acclaimed author of Where’d You Get Those? NYC’s Sneaker Culture: 1960-1987. García has directed Doin’ It In the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC, Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives, and his autobiographical documentary Rock Rubber 45s. As the progenitor of sneaker journalism, García penned his landmark Source article “Confessions of a Sneaker Addict” in 1990, and in 2005 he hosted ESPN’s It’s The Shoes, the first show to focus on sneaker culture in broadcasting history.
A former professional basketball player in Puerto Rico, García performed in the groundbreaking Nike “Freestyle” commercial. In 2007, the brand released seven co-designed Air Force 1 sneakers bearing his name. García is also a world-renowned DJ, who has spun World, Soul and Jazz music at Lincoln Center, Central Park SummerStage, and the Smithsonian (DC). “Kool Bob Love” is a founding member of the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Culture Council and a recent Wesleyan University “Distinguished Alumni Award” recipient.
In addition, García produces his b-ball tournament Full Court 21™ on four continents and is releasing the debut “Stretch And Bobbito” with the M19s Band album titled No Requests on Uprising NYC records this fall.
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