Derrick Coleman has always been as well-known for his loyalty to his hometown of Detroit as for his prodigious hoops skills. It was only appropriate, then, that when British Knights decided to relaunch his sneaker, The Enforcer, they did so in collaboration with the renowned Motown sneaker boutique Burn Rubber. And it was virtually a given that the special design would not only include a version in Syracuse orange and blue, but also a model in the red and white of Coleman’s Northern High.
“I was honored they reached out to me,” says DC. “BK was always there for me and Detroit when I asked them to be. They sponsored anything I was doing in the community, bringing shoes to give away. I appreciated that. It was never about money. It was about the relationship with people who would grow with you and take pride in stuff that was close to your heart. That’s what BK has always done and it continues with this shoe.”
The 6-10 power forward was the first overall pick in the 1990 Draft. While playing for the Nets, he was named ROY and became the first athlete signed to BK to endorse their “Dymacel Technology.” Now, almost 25 years later, he’s excited that Burn Rubber would spearhead the shoe’s rebirth.
“The look was pretty much going to be the same, but they asked me what else I wanted to add,” Coleman says. “I said, ‘Let’s add all the gyms I grew up playing at here in Detroit.’ So the names are in the soles. The legendary spot here always is St. Cecilia’s, so that’s there, of course, which pays tribute to Dott Wilson, Sam Washington and everyone else there. All that is important to me. It’s not just about the shoe. Now we’re gonna have fun with it.”
Alan Paul is a Senior Writer at SLAM. Follow him on Twitter @AlPaul.
photograph by Tom Medvedich