LEBRON James unveiled a Philippine exclusive colorway of his signature shoe as part of his second visit to the country.
“In making a shoe like this we had a designer who’s an actual Filipino so we had a lot of inspiration behind the whole make-up of this,” the four-time NBA MVP told selected media and invited guests at the Nike Park store at the Bonifacio Global City.
The predominantly blue colored LeBron 12 Low “Rise” sneaker has several references to the Philippines. The pulltabs on the back read MNL, referring to the capital city of Manila, and the tongue has a badge that closely resembles the coat of arms of the Philippine national basketball team. The tabs also have the latitude and longitude coordinates of the country.
Discussing the Philippine-inspired colorway, the Cleveland Cavaliers star said the whole collaboration started two years ago.
“The design process started a long time ago and I’m part (of it). We have a team and we all come together to figure out exactly the integration behind the shoe. Obviously the colorway speaks for itself. Put in a part of the Filipino flag, things of that nature. It’s always great to be a part of the process and you see the final results in something like this and any other of my shoes.”
“The King” also shared to the gathered sneakerheads and collectors about how he decides what shoes to wear on a daily basis.
“Ohhh, I got so many different colors in so many different combinations and it’s hard to just choose one. It all depends on the type of day. Or how I’m feeling. Or what I’m wearing. I’ve always kinda matched my shoes last (depending on where I’m going).
"It can be anywhere from the 12 series all the way to the 1 series. Also we’re incorporating the 13s as well. I got a pretty good selection.”
As part of the short presentation, the two-time NBA champion also shared how he found out about the Filipinos’ penchant for hoops during his time with the Miami Heat from his former coach Erik Spoelstra, a Filipino-American.
“Spo always talked how great it is and how unbelievable the people are passionate about basketball. I always remember Spo talked about it and was so prideful about being a native here and he rightfully should be.”
LeBron also talked about what he thought basketball’s role is for Filipinos and how similar it is to his personal experience.
“I think it’s a way of escape. So many people here and back at home, especially where I grew up (Akron, Ohio), it was escape whatever was going on in your personal life at a particular time you just kind of forget about it.
"For people here who are passionate and prideful about the game, it keeps so many things going it just clears out everything that’s going on that’s not good towards that whole time.”
LeBron also addressed comparisons with fellow NBA greats such as Michael Jordan for the title GOAT (Greatest of All Time).
“I have the provision and I have the motivation and everything else that’s built around to be the greatest and that’s just the way I approach the game: Every time I step on the floor I want to be the greatest player on the floor.
“At the end of my reign when I’m done and my shoes hanging up high across my locker, not playing anymore, hopefully I can be there at the top. We have a long way to go but the things I’m doing so far in my career it’s putting me so far in the right direction. “
The Nike LeBron 12 Low “Rise” will retail for US$175 when it becomes available in stores.