by Matt Caputo

Not only will be wearing a new jersey when the season starts, but two time All-Star Elton Brand will also be sporting his own signature sneakers as well. He and Converse have collaborated to create the EB1, the first Elton Brand specific kick. Designed for the player with a hardworking post game, Brand’s shoe reflects the stern discipline in his personality rather than versatility and flamboyance. However it’s Brand’s understanding of fundamentals that makes him successful.

Brand has been wearing converse for a year or two. Although he was once a spokesperson for Starter, this is by far his most legitimate “partnership” with a sneaker company and his very first personal shoe for sure. In fact, there are a lot of things about the shoe that will reflect Brand’s personal side. For instance, the inside of each of the straps on every shoe will either be red or blue to represent the Peekskill High School Red Devils and the Duke University Blue Devils. Also, the “D-like” shape that outlines the EB1 on the front of the strap is in fact a “D” for Daisy Brand, Big E’s mother – who owned a team in the ABA last year.

In fact, Mrs. Daisy Brand was at the preview yesterday and during the Q & A session she asked the designer of the shoe, Dwayne Lawrence, if the EB1 had any special technology that would provide steady circulation to her son’s knees. Put heavily on the spot – Lawrence went on to describe the benefits of tough materials. Her kid agreed and said that that kicks had already been tested, so mother approved.

Besides a hearty serving of sliders and pasta salads, Converse also offered out a glimpse of their 2008 Fall/Holiday collection. This included their Wade 4 and Wade Team Signatue, “Wade City,” “Wade Clutch” and “Wade Slash.” Other Cons like their “Assist” and “Double-Double” were also on display.

The “What If” is themed after the 1972 Olympic team that lost to the Russians under fishy circumstances. The back of the Pro Leather 1976 Hi and Ox shoes feature a gold imprint on the heel (Hi) and tongue (both shoes) to rightfully honor the ’72 USAB team with Gold. The suede materials used in the pack are similar to what would have been on product at the time (early ’70s). The sockliners of each shoe features an image of Lady Justice to represent the irony that justice was never served to the ’72 team. Samples of these can be seen in SLAM presents Olympic Hoops 08.

Converse’s association with the swoosh brand has served them well in reviving a classic hoops trademark. You might wonder if Elton Brand would have worn the weapon back when Bird, Magic, Isiah, Mark Aguirre and Bernard King? Or would he have dressed up like his Grandma and pushed kicks that paid tribute to Ms. Daisy. For now, the EB1’s seem like a better look.