On Saturday, we hit up the Armory, a refurbished military base that acted as the home for most of the basketball during the weekend. Besides the action on the court, Nike and Jordan offered some interesting exhibits to fans. There was a one exhibit featuring all of the 1992 Dream Team and Team USA jerseys, along with game-worn sneakers. Down the middle, there was a line of sneakers called: “1992-2012 Innovation: The Game That Changed.” Everything from the ’95 Pennys to the ’01 Hyperflights to the Air Jordan 20s of 2005 were there and it was interesting to see how sneaker design has changed over the course of 20 years.
Jordan had an exhibit where you could design socks, check out the newest Olympic sneakers for Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, and even lace up Hyperdunks for a chance to create your very own Jordan poster. But what everyone really came to see was Team USA. There was a jumboTron playing the “Dream Team” documentary alongside the court, and banners of all the American stars lining the building. EPMD was blaring from the speakers, and Jay Bilas was rapping (not literally) on the mic. They put together a practice and intrasquad scrimmage for the lucky people able to get into the building. I sat front row on the floor along the baseline, literally a yard from the court, and thought LeBron was going to run me over more than once.
From there, we hit up a Converse Block Party to kick it on stage with Stalley and The-Dream. The heat was overwhelming – I don’t even think they had to grill the free food because it was so hot – but hundreds came out. Converse re-designed the courts at Banneker Community Center, and offered the crowd the chance to design their own t-shirts. They also re-introduced the Pro Leather, a sneaker made famous by Dr. J (who is still involved with Converse) that is returning this summer. I was hooked up with the aforementioned gray suede (FYI, Converse is also hosting two events this Saturday in New York City at Abraham Lincoln Park and Hudson River Park. Jim Jones and Stalley will be among the performers.).
One of the highlights of the weekend came the following day. Before the City Tournament of Champions final, Jus Fly came out and DOMINATED the Nike+ dunk contest. He cleared a 6-8 player and reversed it… he went under his legs… he windmilled while looking down at the rim… and he cartwheeled and went through his legs, completing the dunk he had made just a few weeks earlier that had everyone calling him the best dunker in the world.
After also watching Andrew Wiggins play in the Global Challenge on Sunday – as Canada was rocking some of the craziest camo uniforms I’ve ever seen – we were allowed to wear test the new Nike Lunar Hyperdunk 2012. The shoes have sensors that track all of your physical stats – from your speed and vert to your agility, the amount of energy you use, and it even tracks every single time you jump in a game. There was so much statistical data, I really thought I was going through a math exam at some points, and struggled to keep up.
Fittingly, the trip ended with what we were really there for: a chance to check out this year’s Olympic Teams (we also saw the women) in action, and while they struggled, or at least the men did, and barely beat Brazil, I was having a good time sitting in the section 106 Nike suite, enjoying my shrimp and salad.
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