by Abe Schwadron / @abe_squad
If you’ve purchased or worn a Jordan Brand sneaker at any point over the last 20 years, you have Gentry Humphrey to thank. As International General Manager of Jordan, Humphrey had a hand in every product release on the Jordan line. Humphrey’s vision has produced big hits in the sneaker world over and over, and he has the personal collection to prove it. Now, he’s moving on. In an interview with The Shoe Game, he talks about his new role with Nike, what Jordan meant to him and more. Here’s a snippet:
TSG: We understand that your role and position has changed, what’s your new title?
GH: It’s a long one…I’m the Product Creation Footwear Lead for NSW (which is Nike Sportswear) Basketball and American Football. Basically I’m responsible for bringing lifestyle product to our consumer that lives in the 2 sports. We know that the consumer can compete, train and express himself within his everyday life. Our team will assist him with that expression through a lifestyle lens.
TSG: That’s interesting, I don’t think anyone could ever imagine you not being part of Brand Jordan. How did it feel when you learned you would be leaving?
GH: It was “Bitter Sweet”. Jordan has been a HUGE part of my life for the last 20+ years. I love everything about MJ and how the “Jordan Family” (What you would call the Jordan Brand) strives to make an impact on consumer’s lives. All of the creativity, insights and emotional energy that was spent, made me a better individual – personally and professionally. Leaving Jordan was “Crazy Tuff”! However, the Brand is transitioning and when the VP of Nike Basketball and the Prez of Nike “call your number”, you gotta be ready to play. When they asked me to take on the role, I had to admit that it was a pretty sweet deal! It gives me a chance to get back to what I LOVE and that’s leading a team in creating compelling product for some of the best consumers in the world. And you know…when it comes to the Nike Vault of product, that’s a pretty powerful arsenal.
TSG: You’ve been with JB since 1997/1998, so now that you’re gone how do you feel?
GH: Actually,’97 & ’98 was when the brand was an official sub-brand of Nike but I had the pleasure of working on the Jordan business when it was a part of Nike Basketball. (Ironically, some of the crazy Nike Bball product from back then, are a part of my new responsibilities.) In the beginning, Jordan was a tight crew that had a vision beyond what most people thought it could ever be. The evolution of moving from a $160M business to $1B +, is pretty special. It was and is…a great chapter in my life. The next chapter of my career novel is definitely off to an exciting start.
Humphrey goes on to mention in TSG’s interview that Nike has big plans in store for next year’s 30th anniversary of the Air Force One. Be on the lookout for updates on that, and good luck to GH in the future.