12ozProphet Exclusive: 24 Hours in LA with NIKE+ “Game On, World!”
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12ozProphet was among a very select group invited to Los Angeles by Nike this past weekend. All the details were kept top secret with no information volunteered other than a flight itinerary and the trip referred to as an “experience.” Upon arriving at LAX I was greeted by a man in a black suit holding an iPad bearing an image of a Nike swoosh and a plus in electric blue.
Along with one other participant who caught the same flight, we were escorted to an awaiting Cadillac Escalade to whisk us on our way. Our driver was cordial, telling stories and pointing out sites along the way before arriving at our destination, the London Hotel. Waiting in the room was a little black box with a Nike+ logo in silver foil. Inside was a polished silver coin with a Nike+ on the face and on the back the phrase “Game On, World.”
The next day began with a lunch hosted by Nike on the roof of the London Hotel. It was the first opportunity to see who else was along for the ride. The crowd of about 50 dined in the sun with a slight breeze and a picturesque view of Los Angeles. Those in attendance included locals like Eddie Cruz, the founder of the most reputable sneaker store in town, Undefeated, rubbing shoulders with others making the trip from as far away as London, Berlin, and even Beijing.
Following lunch, we all met in the lobby of the hotel where we were broken up into 8 different teams. We hopped in the Escalade, as a team, uncertain of our destination. LA transplant, Aaron Bondaroff, formerly of Supreme, A New York Thing, and OHWOW Gallery, rode shotgun narrating our journey. Surveying the inventory in the ride, A-ron was rocking a pair of Supreme Nike SB 94’s whereas Carri Munden, the fashion designer behind Cassette Playa had on a pair of Galaxy Foamposite’s with the tag still on reading “remove before flight,” sneakers notorious for inciting riots at their release. I had on my Hold Tight Air Max 1’s in mint condition from 2007. No doubt the kicks in our car alone could rival any of the best shelves in Flight Club.
We arrived at our first stop, the Nike Vault in Downtown Los Angeles, a conceptual storefront for Nike Basketball located in the shadow of the Staples Center. The entire store was designed around the new Nike+ Hyperdunk 2012, set to go on sale this Friday June 29th. A powerpoint presentation, punctuated with video clips of Lebron James, touted the new technology, how it fit into the canonical history of the Nike brand, and their vision for the future of sport training and performance.
Nike has an extremely rich history as the most innovative performance-based brand in sports. This philosophy dates back to Bill Bowerman’s vision. However, Nike+ technology was first incorporated into Nike Running products in 2006, tracking distances ran and calories burned. This year Nike released the Nike+ FuelBand, a wrist-based device designed to track everyday activity. The new Nike+ Basketball technology pushes these analytics even further, measuring how high, how hard and how quick players play the game via the ‘Track My Game’ mode.
The Nike+ enabled basketball shoes track information on every movement during the game and deliver back information to the user, giving them a basis from which to improve. With these new sets of realtime data, training could become a game unto itself as friends and rivals compete to see who has the highest vertical jump or quickest moves.
It was also announced that these are the shoes that NBA Champion Lebron James would be wearing during the upcoming 2012 Olympic games in London making the “Game On, World” slogan particularly appropriate.
Following the presentation the screen lifted up to reveal a backstage area with a Matrix-like display of the Hyperdunk 2012+ and glass showcases with sketches of the designs. Attendees ogled the new unreleased shoes in both black and silver color-ways.
The entire store was set as a stage with the Hyperdunk 2012+ the star for the day. All of the in-store visuals and merchandise complimented the new kicks.
At the Nike Vault store customers could create custom one of a kind T-shirts, picking from a selection of available graphics, color ways, numbers and text. We were each able to create our own as part of the experience, some choosing to keep theirs clean and simple while others pulled out all the bells and whistles.
Inspired to step their game up, some of the guests shot around on the basketball hoop in the front of the Nike Vault store.
After the presentation at the Nike Vault we were all escorted across the street to the LA LIVE Plaza at the Staples Center where festivities were underway in celebration of the new Nike+ Hyperdunk 2012, the climax being a dunk contest. We were lucky enough to have front row seats to witness the ballers putting their new kicks to work with high flying acrobatics that rivaled any NBA All-Star Weekend.
The dunk contest included five contestants, Airdogg, Jonsey, Reemix, Young Hollywood, and Jus Fly. None being familiar faces or household names, the crowd had no idea of the incredible show that was in store.
The five competitors took turns effortlessly nailing dunks that in previous years would have taken home an NBA Dunk Contest Champion title. Each went way above the rim going through the legs and soaring over the heads of their peers on each dunk. These dudes were no joke!
However, there was one dunk that stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, on Jus Fly’s first attempt he started off with the ball on the ground in the paint half-way between the foul line and the hoop. Kenny Smith joked “You’ve gotta have a ball in order to dunk!?” No one could have seen what was coming next.
The lanky ball player approached the paint, leaping into a forward handspring, picking up the ball mid-motion while inverted and bouncing up into a through the legs slam dunk. It was unbelievable! The crowd erupted in raucous appreciation for the moment we just witnessed drawing straight 10’s from the judges.
Check out this video produced by Nike Basketball of Jus Fly’s mind blowing winning dunk that brought the house down and ended the competition in a first round knock out.
Below is a highlight reel produced by Dunkademics with many of the memorable moments from the dunk contest.
We immediately continued on our way as the dunk contest ended and the setting sun cast long shadows. We hopped back into our caravan of black Escalades onto the the next chapter in our day.
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