Former NBA great Patrick Ewing and his brand, Ewing Athletics, should be in your shoe rotation.
By now, you must be aware of our giddy fanboy love for basketball. Besides soccer, it's the next most popular global sport. Some may remember when the greatest team ever assembled, USA's 1992 Dream Team, were playing qualifiers and the opposing team would come up for autographs. There were times when Michael Jordan was announced as part of the starting lineup, grown men would cheer like teeny-boppers crying over #BTS. These guys were bigger than rock stars, they were sports GODDDDDSSSS. This is the power of sport!
The #NBA has always been a leader of fusing sport x culture. The wizardry involved to showcase its coolness, progressiveness and nod to culture has always made me wonder who has been dabbling in the dark arts to make them so cool. Going back to the Dream Team, whoever was associated with this beastly squad was (mostly) guaranteed instant street cred (sorry Christian Laetner). One of these beasts was Georgetown powerhouse and New York #Knicks great, Patrick Ewing.
Let me get this out of the way now, I have a love/hate relationship with Patrick Ewing. First off, he denied my favorite player of all-time, Hakeem Olajuwon, a college national championship when his Hoyas beat the University of Houston's Cougars in 1984. Olajuwon would exact some sweet revenge 10 years later in the NBA Finals. But, I digress – there's no need to be salty.
Here's where Ewing gets props from me. Though he was faced what was arguably some of the toughest big men to ever play in his era (Robinson, Olajuwon, Malone, Barkley, Mourning, Mutombo, Laimbeer, a young Shaq, Rodman, Oakley, etc.), he was always willing to bring it back right to his competition. Like two heavyweights trading blows in the middle of the ring, whoever Ewing faced, he was, in the words of good ol' Jim Ross, gonna be in for a real "slobberknocker."
His play on the court is an acquired taste, just like his shoe brand, Ewing Athletics. He's not a big part of the company – he's not the mastermind behind these shoe designs or finding ways to collaborate with Louis Vuitton, but he puts his name behind the brand, and that alone is enough to bear some weight of finicky hype beasts.
The thing about these sneakers is the nod to old-school. You get a touch of beefiness, like the old Reebok Pumps or old-school DC skater shoes. A smattering of color palettes, from simple white like the Air Force 1's or Air Jordan 4's. And then a smidge of utility, like the reinforced straps of an Air Raid or Huarache.
Some might say it's a hodgepodge of a shoe. I say, fuck the noise. If you like it, you like it. And these sneakers, are part of the rotation. In particular, Ewing's 33 HI Royals are especially nice. Some of the color ways can be a tough pill to swallow, but there are some color combos that make this a nice shoe.
On top of that, the brand itself is really trying to set itself up with impressive collabs. A few years ago, the brand hooked up with rapper 2Chainz to design a unique shoe for Ewing Athletic's Summer Lineup that featured custom packaging and custom keychain featuring his dog, Trappy.
And even as recent as 2020, the brand celebrated another collab with famous hip-hop group EPMD, highlighting the brand's debut and the duo's sophomore album, Unfinished Business.
Granted, these aren't going to make people stop and turn their heads out of envy. You might even get a gasp and a snicker from "hypebeasts." But I will guarantee you, the true basketball, sports fan and streetwear connoisseur will give you a fist bump out of respect. No one but a true and unbelievably confident sneakerhead, will be rocking these.
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