Rookie of the Year

by August 06, 2008

I wrote this story for SLAM 120 and re-running it here made sense after Cub’s column on Memphis generated some discussion.—Ben Osborne

A man known throughout basketball as Worldwide Wes deserves a signature shoe, doesn’t he? Nike and Tyler Way ( certainly thought so. They teamed up to make Wes (William Wesley, famed for his ability to connect celebrities, players and companies) a pair of his own. Nike had give Wes a unique pair of white mid-tops based off a Jordan III template, and he redirected them to Way, an up-and-coming sneaker customizer based in Michigan. The result is the pair you see, with Way happy to explain.

“I met Wes through Rip Hamilton, and after I did a couple of Air Force 1s for him, he let me do a real custom job for him,” says Way, 21, a former high school standout at Brighton (MI) High who has customized shoes for Detroit players Rip, Tayshaun Prince and Ivory Latta. “The map of the world was because of his nickname, and the Tiger print is for Memphis as they were going through the tournament.”

Indeed, says Wes, “I wouldn’t let just anyone do a shoe for me. Tyler is passionate about his work and he’s going to be a superstar in that business. Keep an eye out for him.”