After an MVP season, it is normal that Giannis Antetokounmpo has his first sneaker on the market. The Zoom Freak 1, which was designed for over a year before winning the award, sees Giannis join the company of LeBron James, Michael Jordan and countless other superstars who have joined the shoe gang. These are not your ordinary shoes, however. They tell a story that some may miss without some context.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s favorite movie
According to Nike’s vice president of basketball shoes Kevin dodson, Giannis entered the conception phase talking about his favorite movie, “The Prince Akeem Movie”. After some extrapolations, they figured out the basketball superstar was talking about Eddie Murphy’s classic Coming to America. Dodson learned that people around Giannis didn’t call him that, but the conversation kicked off the shoe’s design phase.
Fast forward to today, and the movie-inspired shoe is set to hit the market. Thinking of Eddie Murphy’s Prince Akeem, Nike used footage from the film to add character to basketball, adding gold in the design and mimicking the animal prints Murphy wears throughout the film.
Branding for the Antetokounmpo shoe
This is not the first time that a film has inspired a high-end shoe. LeBron released a Space jam inspired shoe leading to the production of the sequel in which he will star. Nike also released shoes inspired by the classic 80s movie. Back to the future II. With sports and shoes becoming more and more intertwined, it makes sense that Hollywood is joining in as well.
The branding associated with Coming to America did not stop at the intricacies of the shoes. Those who have looked at the shoes might not even catch the references to Giannis’ favorite movies. To help drive that point into the ground, Nike incorporated Coming to America into its ad campaign, including Giannis in a recreation of the movie poster.
Why this movie?
If one knows the story of Giannis Antetokounmpo, he could perfectly understand why he turned to the film, especially after arriving in America to pursue his NBA dreams. The film tells the story of Akeem, a prince who comes to America and gets used to American ways. He is used to having all the riches in the world, but he leads a normal life after his journey to find true love in the United States.
In some ways, some might say it’s a similar approach, but opposite to Giannis’ story. Giannis came from relative obscurity to Greece to enrich himself when he arrived in America. The parallels, however, are indisputable, and now they have been immortalized in the shoe that bears his name.
Although the Zoom Freak 1 is the only officially announced model of the shoe, Nike has announced that it will sink deeper into the waters of the film. A planned Soul Glo colorway could hit stores, a reference to a product and ad that exists inside the movie. It remains to be seen if this will become a recurring theme for the sneaker. With a following coming next year, there might be more fodder for Giannis Antetokounmpo to use in the future.
Giannis’ first shoe is a big deal for him and the NBA. This helped him complete his transition from rookie to superstar. With a global audience and years of development ahead of them, it should come as no surprise that Giannis and Nike have forged such a partnership as the NBA seeks the next generation of superstars.