Despite having only a couple days of spring break left, a handful of students found themselves inside of a classroom at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, IL. To their surprise, the Jordan Brand arranged for Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (cover subject of SLAM 197, on sale now) to make an appearance to hang with the kids and discuss the Ultra.Fly, the brand’s latest hoop shoe Butler debuted last month.
A science classroom flipped into a sneaker showcase set the stage to talk about another high-performance shoe from the legendary brand. The XX8, XX9, XXX and Super.Fly have all been outstanding shoes to play in and are equipped with excellent technology, and the Ultra.Fly falls right in line.
“I love the shoe. It allows me to cut, jump, all the stuff that a basketball shoe is supposed to do. And it’s light. I think they look good, and you look good you play good.”
Most notably, there’s a 9-chamber zoom air unit in the forefoot that has great responsiveness, and a kurim and mesh upper that’s flexible, durable and light. The traction is strong and it feels broken-in upon the first wear. All great features to help pick-up players and pros alike.
“All the guys I have to guard, I lace my sneakers up tight. The shoe is great…it helps me to move comfortably, change directions. I’ve got to chase all these superstars around and I think this shoe with its build and mold, it helps,” Butler said. “With the way I move laterally, I don’t have to worry about rolling an ankle because the shoe is made to keep all of that stable.”
The Ultra.Fly officially drops later this month at a reasonable $125 price tag.
Butler had some really interesting non-Ultra.Fly related thoughts, as well.
On his night-to-night mentality:
“I just find it fun to go up against LeBron, KD, all the people you all see on TV. I want to know, ‘Can you give me 50 points?’ If you can give me 50, you’re real. That’s what motivates me to go up against these guys because I think of myself as one of the best players in the League.”
On the importance of education:
“I made a promise to my family that I was going to get my degree before I went pro. I wasn’t that good in high school all the way up through college, but my senior year something clicked, and I just became a decent basketball player. School is so important. The way our League is, the average length [of someone’s career] is like four years. There are guys like Kobe that play 20, and then you have guys that I was drafted with like MarShon Brooks, JaJuan Johnson. They were only in the League for a year or two. You can’t play this game forever, but you can always fall back on your degree and your knowledge. I take great pride in that. I actually want to go back and get my master’s, and with all the free time I have, I don’t see why I can’t do it. A degree will take you way farther than any of this basketball stuff ever could.”