by August 04, 2010

Originally published in KICKS 9, 2006…

Sneaker Pimp: This is not an entirely original concept—“this” being a superstar (pun intended) collection of adidas endorsees sharing the cover of our annual KICKS issue. But if we’re gonna steal an idea, at least we’re stealing it from ourselves.

A lot of you should remember the cover of KICKS 6, which dropped three years ago this month and featured Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady (then in Orlando Magic blue) and Kevin Garnett, all thoroughly three-striped out. At the time, they were arguably the three dopest forwards in the game (some consider T-Mac a two guard, but for the sake of argument here, we’ll call him a three), together in one place in the middle of the summer for no other reason than our shoot.

Some would call that “juice.” We won’t argue.

When we started thinking about this year’s KICKS cover, our homies at adidas came with the idea of a sequel—well, sort of. The question was, how could we do it one (or two) better? The answer is on our front page. Tim, Tracy and Kevin are back, joined up by the superfly backcourt combo of Gilbert Arenas and Chauncey Billups. Needless to say, we’d put this five up against any other five, anytime, anywhere. That said, for the purposes of this issue, we needed more than just a dope quintet of ballplayers; we needed a sneaker hook. Thankfully, each of the All-Stars you see on our cover is now rocking a unique adidas signature shoe, including first-ever joints for Gil and C-Bills. For our purposes, that was more than sufficient.

What else? Plenty, actually. We’ll start with SLAM/KICKS’ resident shoe fiend, Russ Bengtson, who fearlessly rolled out to Dirty Jerz on an ugly June afternoon for the first annual International Sneaker Battle. I’m not sure if this is word-for-word exact, but the two-way I got from Russ not long after he arrived at the show was something along the lines of, “If I’d dusted off my whole collection, I could’ve done some serious damage out here.” NikeTalk heads know better than to doubt him. That’s all I’m saying.

There’s more, of course, including an afternoon chilling with Ron Artest out in Queensbridge as he shot the promo campaign for his K1X signature line; semi-official previews of Nike’s most anticipated newness, the Zoom Kobe 2 and the Zoom LeBron IV; and shoe-centric love for a couple of soleful filmmakers, Shaq & Steph’s bargain sleds, and, yes, Damon Jones.

Last thing—you’ll notice some snazzy little boxes throughout the issue directing you to our new and improved website, where you’ll find outtakes, exclusive audio and video interview excerpts, and online exclusives. Needless to say, we’ll be making a habit of this, so check out, and plan on coming back often. You’ll be glad you did.


Ryan Jones