With the launch party taking place in the 2018-19 MVP‘s backyard of Athens, Greece, Nike took to its digital newsroom to break down the process, design and everything in between, going all the way back in 2017. “I thought we were going to talk with five people about what I like in a shoe,” Giannis noted then. “It was much deeper than that. I was surprised by how many people are involved — the size of the team and the level of input they want from me on the product and what I want to represent.”
As always, a signature sneaker is designed to meet the specifications of that particular player, and for The Greek Freak, Nike’s focus was on the star athlete’s “rangy movement.” “He’s using space with great efficiency,” says Ross Klein, Senior Creative Director, Basketball Footwear. “He uses length to take defender’s off of their position. In a euro step, for example, he can pull a defender one way and because his left step — the lethal step — is so long, he cuts a huge, almost two-step, advantage.”
As a result, the Zoom Freak 1 features a multidirectional traction pattern “that aids positioning at the extremes of his lateral strides — the big toe and pinkie toe — as well as meeting more traditional needs of a sound defensive stance.” This traction is aided by an internal containment system in the form of a rubber clip that extends from the outsole up through the midsole.
Additional details include double-stacked Zoom Air units under the heel to balance responsiveness and cushioning, a Nike Kobe-inspired low-profile, and a custom logo that represents Antetokounmpo’s family and homelands of Nigeria and Greece. “Antetokounmpo has an incredible story,” says apparel designer Dustin Mangan. “His love for Greece and reverence for his family’s journey is all great fuel for designing something unique for him. We can bridge ideas of European luxury and comfort that embody him as a person.”
The Air Zoom Freak 1, in three different colorways, and Antetokounmpo’s inaugural apparel line will release on June 29 at select Nike retailers and Nike.com.