Like it usually does in Las Vegas during the summer months, the temperature hit triple-digits last week. The sun was unforgiving and even the smallest breeze was nonexistent. There was no relief at night, either, as the heat still hovered in the high 90s.
Even with the ridiculous weather, kids flocked to the Chelsea Theater at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, where adidas had taken over. They built out an expansive space to show off the all-new Crazy Explosive and to host a celebration of basketball.
Before experiencing the fandom, Andrew Wiggins said, “This type of event is great for kids, great for adidas, great for everybody. When I was doing AAU and we came to Vegas, we didn’t really get a chance to do this stuff.”
The “stuff” included a dunk cam that created GIFs of jams on an eight-foot hoop, drill work with pro-level trainers, a designated room to play NBA 2K17, a spot to design your own shirt, a first look at the Crazy Explosive 17 and of course, the chance to kick it with a group of the game’s biggest stars.
“I’ve been on the other side and to get the type of respect and love from those young athletes is one of those feelings that can’t be replaced, because you know they respect you for what you’ve worked so hard to get to and what you’ve accomplished,” Damian Lillard said. “It’s cool to get out there and socialize and talk to them.”
Lillard and Chiney Ogwumike, the 2014 WNBA Rookie of the Year, sat up on stage and handed out duffle bags full of gear to a swarm of kids. Jaylen Brown and Jamal Murray locked up against those brave enough to challenge them.
Brandon Ingram slowly walked through the main entrance, followed by a few Three Stripes executives, a couple of friends and a security guard. They all stepped aside when a group of young hoopers noticed the 6-9 Lakers forward and surrounded him. Ingram, still a kid himself, smiled from ear to ear.
Fresh off beating the Big Ballers, Zion Williamson and his SC Supreme AAU teammates showed up, too. Williamson patiently posed for countless pictures and he also soaked in the dunk cam–he didn’t throw any down, though.
“It’s super dope to be a part of this,” Brown said. “Stuff like this is pretty cool to you in high school when someone is doing something you want to do, so people got a lot of questions. People think they are better than you, I’m ready for it all. They want to talk to me, play me, people want to bounce things off me, I’m here.”
Like Brown, Lillard understands how much the game means to everyone.
“I’m 27 and some of these kids are 14, 15, 16,” he said. “You might have somebody’s dad out there who played back in the day and now they’re coaching and they’re 55. It’s one thing that can bring people together, it’s one thing that everybody has in common. You come here and you know everybody is gonna love hoop, and they got some type of story from hoop. They know this person for that reason, they know that person for another reason, and it’s all based around that ball. I think that’s what makes it all cool and all worth it.”
The latest Crazy Explosive silhouette introduces a sock collar into the Crazy Explosive series and combines the Three Stripes’ latest technology–Forged Primeknit–with its most popular technology–BOOST.
“It’s a shoe that kind of fits to your foot, not a shoe you have to fit into,” Brown said. “I want the shoe to move with me and I think these are a great example and adidas is getting better and better at it.”
“I love everything about it, the way it looks, the comfort level, how it feels on the court, the traction, the BOOST,” Wiggins said.
“They kind of threw it at me, I didn’t put too much effort into designing it,” he said. “I was just interested in it. It just worked out for the best because, while I was wearing those shoes, I was scoring a lot and we were winning. They were like my good luck charm,” he said with a smile.
Alex Zerzan, Global Product Director, says that Wiggins and a whole bunch of others can look forward to colorways that continue to pop.
“Yeah, it’s going to be exciting keep your eye out on the court for when [Kristaps] Porzingis and Wiggins and Justise Winslow, Eric Gordon, Ingram, Murray are going to wear it,” he said.
Zerzan bridged the gap between the design team and the Futures Department.
“When [the Futures Department] came to us with the Forged Primeknit, we thought no better shoe to use it on than Crazy Explosive,” Zerzan said. “It allows us to take the Primeknit to a whole ‘nother level in 2017. We knew the 2016 was a performance beast, but the Forged Primeknit allowed us to make the shoe lighter, stronger and more tapered and sleek to the athlete’s foot.”
With a single-piece upper, the Forged Primeknit replaces the traditional sneaker construction that required different parts.
“So we go back 18 months, sitting in a meeting with kids and hoopers and teens and seeing what they wanted in a shoe, what they liked in the Crazy Explosive, but what they wish they would have had better or different,” Zerzan remembers. “We were tapping into this lifestyle-play. This sleek style play. Adidas is, as you know, more than just a performance brand, it’s a style brand, it’s a culture.”
“I think it’s dope what Adidas is doing here with the LVL3 event,” Brown said. “It’s basketball, but it’s using basketball as a platform for other areas. You got other stuff going on. You got musicians involved, technology involved. Basketball, it’s crazy how influential the sport of basketball is. It’s great for [the] culture.”