This summer, Nike Chicago led a six-week #RiseChicago training journey that culminated with a chance to play in the famed Chi-League, and SLAM was there every step of the way.
Things kicked off in late June, as NTC Trainer and former pro hooper Dave Carson laid the groundwork for the journey to come with an intense early-morning workout at Nike’s training studio on Michigan Avenue. In the month of July, we made stops at Kenwood Academy and Marshall High—two high schools with critical importance to Chicago’s prep hoops scene—before getting a chance to run an early-morning pickup game on the top floor of Jordan Brand’s 32 South State Street location. Plus, we threw the gloves on at Franklin Street Boxing Club to experience another creative workout method that many NBA players use for cardio training and stamina (and because punching stuff is fun).
Along the way, we had the chance to wear-test a handful of new Nike products, including the Nike KDX, designed by Leo Chang. “Overall, I just wanted to continue to push the sensation of comfort with him,” Chang told SLAM last month.
Chang has worked on the KD line since the beginning, and he says X is the most versatile KD sneaker ever built, in terms of its on and off-court appeal, thanks in part to its all-over Flyknit design. “That’s something KD’s talked about for several years now,” Chang continues. “He’s always ready. He could be walking down the street in a city somewhere, and if he wants to just go hoop, he’s ready. The shoes, he can just tighten them up and go. Or if he’s on the court, he can step out in the city, vice versa. It’s something that you can rock off the court.”
Beyond the KDX, Chang told us he’s been most excited to see positive feedback this summer for the Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit (which Draymond Green helped us detail earlier this month). As it happened, that was the sneaker on our feet for the last chapter of our #RiseChicago journey, which culminated the first weekend of August with the opportunity to suit up for a Chi-League game under the bright lights. After our media game, current and former pros like Bobby Simmons, Cliff Alexander, Osiris Eldridge and Jacob Pullen took the floor for the Chi-League playoffs.
Scroll through the photos above to get a closer look inside the #RiseChicago summer journey.