The reigning NBA MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, has landed his first shoe deal with Nike. Playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, the 6-foot-11 superstar is the league’s first international basketball player to get his own Nike shoe. The 24-year-old is at the height of his game; he’s proud to let the Nike Zoom Freak 1 tell his story.
The story behind the shoe parallels Giannis Antetokounmpo’s own story
As a child, Antetokounmpo shared his basketball sneakers with his brother, Thanasis. The irony of having his own Nike shoe line is not lost on The Greek Freak.
At the debut of his new shoe, Zoom Freak 1, Antetokounmpo said, “I never ever thought I would have my own signature shoe, but at the end of the day if you work hard and really believe in yourself and you believe in your dreams, stuff like this can happen.”
The meaning behind Antetokounmpo’s first shoe
As Zoom Freak 1 launched, Antetokounmpo said, “I wanted my shoe to basically introduce me and my family to the world.” He explained that his parents’ names, Veronica and Charles, are written on the outer midsoles of the shoe. The names of his four brothers inscribe both sole’s heels. The Greek Freak said he designed, “A shoe that could make a kid believe in his dream.”
The iconic Nike swoosh is big and backward to represent Antetokounmpo’s freaky nature. He says, “It’s all about being freaky, and being different.” The shoe has the color blue, to represent his hometown of Greece, and green to pay tribute to Nigeria, his country of origin.
Antetokounmpo has great respect for his father, and the way he grew up. This is why “I Am My Father’s Legacy” is written onto the traction pattern on the bottom of the shoe. An embossed rose memorializes his now-deceased father, who according to Antetokounmpo, always loved roses. He says he wanted the rose included so his father was with him “in every step.”
‘Coming to America’
When Nike sat down with Antetokounmpo to design his signature shoe, they asked him what his favorite movie was. He responded, “The Prince Akeem movie.” It took a few minutes for the Nike executives to realize he was talking about the Eddie Murphy hit, Coming to America. They decided to run with the idea since the movie plot so closely paralleled with Antetokounmpo’s own journey to America, reports The Undefeated.
Nike refers to Antetokounmpo as their first international signature athlete. According to a press release, the Coming to America shoe is, “embellished with animal print and rich gold accents to mimic the royal garb worn by Prince Akeem upon his formal entrance to the U.S.”
Nike and Paramount Pictures collaborated on the release of the shoe, which now retails for $120 a pair. Nike swapped Eddie Murphy’s photo for Antetokounmpo in a promotional movie poster for the Zoom Freak 1 sneaker and apparel collection.
Is a second edition signature shoe on the way?
With renewed interest in Coming to America, a planned sequel will come out in the late summer of 2020. There are also rumors of a second signature shoe being released, the Nike Zoom Freak 2, details Sole Collector.
There is no confirmation of a release date. But leaked photos show a black-and-white shoe with Greek Freak written in Greek letters on the heel. His parents’ names remained etched on the bottom of the shoe. The release date has not yet been announced, as Sneaker Bar Detroit reports.