NBA’s MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is starring not only in the basketball world scene but in Nike’s new line.
The newly launched Nike Air Zoom Freak 1 and matching apparel bear his signature. The products and the videos telling the story behind the creation of the line let us into the player’s tough early years in Athens spanning from selling goods on the street to finding basketball at the age of 12, the struggles, but also the connection keeping his family close together.
This project with Nike was years in the making, specifically since 29 November, 2017 when the up-and-coming basketball player visited Nike WHQ for a crash course in signature footwear, as the mega-brand explained on its website.
It turned out that the meetings were meant to not just design the Greek star’s first signature shoe, but also to design Antetokounmpo’s brand; that also includes apparel.
“I thought we were going to talk with five people about what I like in a shoe,” he 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.”
In the five Nike videos, the NBA star talks about his journey and what this collaboration represents. Especially the shoe, is designed based on The Greek Freak’s game technique and needs. However, it’s not limited to athleticism or performance.
“In a logo, you can put a lot of things together and talk about your life — represent family, represent Nigeria and Greece. That is exciting,” says Antetokounmpo who worked closely with Nike’s design team to bring together his family story and the mythical qualities of his sporting rise in a single icon. Nike’s Graphic Identity Group looked to Ancient Greece for inspiration and found a useful form in Greek fret patterns.
Inspired by the meander that symbolises eternal flow, for Antetokounmpo, the meander-like ‘A’ combines the aesthetic of ancient Athens, his hometown, yet it also represents his family’s path from Nigeria to Greece, leading to his journey from Athens to Milwaukee and to NBA’s A-list.