Will Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown be making a statement Friday night in Game 3 against the Atlanta Hawks?
Brown, an advocate pushing for social justice, has had no issue spotlighting the hypocrisy within the multi-billion-dollar cooperation, which has expressed inconsistent outrage. Yet despite having been harshly critical of Nike in the past, most notably regarding the Kyrie Irving situation, Brown himself has had no issue sporting several of the brand’s most highly-coveted models off the floor.
And before going up against the Hawks, with the C’s already up 2-0 in their first-round matchup, Brown unveiled his latest project (or shot) at Nike — a custom pair of the Kobe (Bryant) 5 Protro ‘Undefeated Hall of Fame.’
Check out the kicks here, courtesy of NBC Sports Boston:
There’s a lot to unpack with each shoe. On the left sneaker, is a set of pyramids, both referencing locations in Mexico, one of which was deemed a “secret” pyramid by scientists back in 2016. It also features — on the inside paneling — the slogan “Just Do Better,” which takes a shot at Nikes’ iconic “Just Do It” trademark.
Meanwhile, the right shoe raises a much more interesting question. Literally. “Was it really Neismith?” the right panel reads. This could be interpreted as a question of whether or not Dr. James Naismith, who’s best known as the inventor of basketball, actually was the sport’s original creator.
Granted, that’s speculation, therefore, unless Brown shares the message himself, all interpretations are nothing more than interpretations.
Currently, Brown isn’t signed to a footwear deal with any major brand. He was last linked to Adidas before their deal expired in 2021. And while the 26-year-old All-Star is currently a “sneaker free agent,” Brown has previously expressed his satisfaction with the freedom and flexibility that comes with having no contractual obligation to brand loyalty.
“I feel free,” Brown said last year, according to Sports Business Journal. “… I’ve had numerous conversations with people and everything kind of tends to be the same. Fit this athlete in this slot and if it’s not him, then we’ll fit another athlete into that slot. You really don’t get nothing out of it. So for me, I’ve been trying to push for some type of individual.”