For Luke Tadashi, the pages of SLAM are where his love for basketball grew beyond just the sport itself.
“[SLAM] was the first place where I connected the dots between basketball having a greater impact beyond just being a sport, but affecting culture and touching people’s lives,” he says. “Design, fashion, music. All of these different aspects of culture being weaved together but through the lens of basketball.”
When Tadashi’s college basketball career at Kenyon College (OH) came to an end, he needed a way to stay connected to the game he loved. He moved back to his hometown of L.A. and started Bristol Studio, a high-end clothing brand that’s artistically influenced by Tadashi’s basketball fandom in the late ’90s and early ’00s.
To celebrate SLAM’s 25th anniversary, the two brands collaborated on a limited drop featuring a t-shirt, denim jacket and basketball shorts.
The t-shirt and shorts were inspired by the color palette from Allen Iversons’s famous “Soul on Ice” cover and feature SLAM 25th anniversary branding. The basketball shorts specifically were a point of emphasis for Tadashi in the collaboration.
“The cornerstone of the sport and of the culture is the basketball short,” he says. “We put a really heavy 2-by-1 waistband on it which is my homage to the older basketball shorts of the past.”
The denim jacket is unique because of its throwback fit and details. It features patches with various phrases from old SLAM covers and has a baggy fit and contrast stitching, traditional with the way denim was worn in the era Tadashi grew up watching basketball.
“Denim was worn in such a way, it was like these guys’ body armor or something. It was like a bullet-proof vest. It was so big and enclosed them. I remember flipping through the pages as a kid and seeing that and being like, ‘If you wear that, you can take on anything. You’re ready to conquer the world in that.’
“It’s supposed to fit you baggy and oversized. At the same time, it’s done in really high-end Japanese denim,” Tadashi continues. “We have Swiss-made Riri zippers, which are like the Rolls Royce of zippers. You have this juxtaposition of high-end materials with this baggier cut that you wouldn’t associate with that fabrication.”
Since Day One
London Perrantes, the winningest player in university of Virginia men’s basketball history, returned to his roots to help SLAM & Bristol studio with their new collab.
London Perrantes’ game has a different kind of flavor.
There’s grit—the kind he gained from playing up with the “big kids” at the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club. There’s an element of smoothness mixed in, an attribute he developed playing under the Southern California sunshine and palm trees at the asphalt courts at Venice Beach.
Basketball has taken Perrantes, who most recently played for the Portland Trail Blazers, from the courts of Santa Monica to venues across the globe. No matter the location or the stakes, though, Perrantes always brings his game and an intense, fiery desire to win.
The flow of his game and the attitude he brings to the court made Perrantes the winningest player in University of Virginia men’s basketball history.
When Perrantes received a call from Luke Tadashi to come back to California to shoot the upcoming SLAM x Bristol Studio collab, it was a “full-circle moment.”
When Tadashi said he wanted to shoot at the same court where they initially met, Perrantes was instantly in.
“I grew up four blocks away from the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club,” Perrantes says. “For me, going back to that area brings back memories of when I started to really love basketball.”
Bristol Studio, specifically its collaboration with SLAM, represents Perrantes’ “true colors”—a mix of old-school attitude mixed with the glam of Los Angeles.
“[Players are] showing their true colors outside of the basketball court, because on a basketball court you gotta wear a uniform,” Perrantes says. “Having that freedom outside of the court is huge.”
Photos by Cameron Look