Why the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson Might Have the Coolest Shoes in the NBA

Shoes and the NBA go together. While it’s difficult to determine just how much different shoes actually help NBA players with their skills, a great deal of money goes into designing the shoes and finding the perfect player to promote them. The amount of attention a player’s feet and shoes attract is mind-boggling, sometimes it seems like people spend more time talking about what a particular player is using to cover his feet than on the game they’re playing. The one player whose shoes should be the talk of the town is Zion Williamson, who might have the coolest shoes in the NBA.

Zion Williamson’s surprising shoes

The endorsement deal Zion Williamson signed with Jordan Brand shortly after the New Orleans Pelicans drafted the rising star made the news. 

One of the reasons people were a little surprised by the news that Zion had signed with Jordan Brand was because it’s a sub-brand for Nike. Between Williamson having favored Adidas while playing in high school and suffering an injury after blowing out his Nike shoe in a college game, many suspected Williamson to avoid all things Nike.

The second reason the news was surprising was the size of the contract. While the exact numbers are still unknown, it’s believed that the multi-year contract could be worth as much as $75 million to the young athlete.

There’s a unique twist

While no one has gotten an actual glimpse of the shoes Williamson will wear this season (when he eventually takes the floor), we do know that the design has a unique and inspiring twist. Instead of a bunch of high paid, professional designers sitting down with the basketball star and deciding how to make the shoes look snazzy, Williamson and Jordan Brand paired up with New Orleans’s high school students to design the Air Jordan XXXIV shoe Williamson will wear while playing in the NBA.

The endeavor was part of the UNITE Initiative that Jordan Brand is involved with. Williamson worked alongside the students on a Saturday. While this was a Unite Initiative project, the high schoolers selected had participated in Bmike’s BeLite program, which is a program that pairs talented young artists with Bmike. He helps them hone skills that will help them on their path as a professional artist.

Jordan Brand is billing the UNITE Initiative as an opportunity to bring the younger generation of athletes together in a way that continues both during and after games.

Williamson is just one of the professional athletes taking part in the UNITE Initiative. Other pro athletes involved in the program include Jayson Tatum, Kia Nurse, and Rui Hachimura

The plan is that Williamson will debut his fully customized shoes shortly after the NBA’s All-Star break.

Getting involved in this program is a great way for Williamson to connect with fans in a way he might not have been able to otherwise. Not only does it help him build a brand as a person interested in helping develop your artists and athletes, which appeals to both teenagers and their parents, but it also helps the city of New Orleans become even more attached to both Williamson and the Pelicans.

So you want to buy Zion Williamson’s new shoes

We won't see him or his kicks for a while, but Zion Williamson might have the coolest shoes in the NBA.
These are the shoes Zion Williamson will wear before he unveils the kicks he designed with New Orleans high school students. | Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

If you want to get your hands on a pair of basketball shoes that look just like Zion Williamson, you’re out of luck. In an extremely surprising move, Jordan Brand has decided not to release the design to the public. The best chance you have of getting the shoes is if Zion Williamson decides to use a few of the pairs he wears during games as charity fundraisers.

While you can’t get your hands on shoes that look like Zion’s, each of the kids who participated in the program to design the rookie’s shoes were given a free pair. How sweet is that!