July 12, 2012 BY Aaron Kr.
Eric Koston, Stefan Janoski, Omar Salazar… the Nike SB line boasts an impressive roster of talent with their current lineup of signature models, but in the beginning, there was only one. Despite having six signature Nike models under his belt and just capturing his 4th X Games gold medal, when it comes to his skateboarding success and high-profile sponsorship endorsements, Paul Rodriguez Jr. still feels like a kid who “hit the lotto.” The humble 27 year-old superstar is quite aware of how lucky he is to be living the dream, and there’s no question that he has put in the hard work to get where he is – and not just work on his board.
Paul likes to get very hands on with the design of his signature Nike shoes and it’s clear that he goes all out to ensure the best performance possible. P-Rod knows his shoes inside and out. He knows what he’s looking for and what to ask for, and the results are evident in a solid catalog of shoes that he feels keep getting better and better. We recently had the chance to catch up with Paul to chat about his new shoe, the recently released P-Rod 6, as well as his early days with Nike SB, his all-time favorite sneakers and the eventual legacy of the Nike P-Rod line. For all this and more, continue on for the full Sneaker News interview with Paul Rodriguez after the jump.
SN: You joined the Nike SB team as the brand was hitting the height of its popularity back in the 04-05. What was it like to be a part of SB at that pivotal time in the brand’s history?
PR: It was great. It was definitely at that point, for me personally, somewhat of a risky decision as it would seem to outsiders looking in at it. I definitely got some flack for it at first. But as far as actually being on the brand, it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Normal skate brands were just like a big warehouse, a couple offices and that was that. I came over here to the Nike campus and they just took me on a tour and showed me how next level they were from anything I ever understood. Not only just the best product and best gear, but it was the whole presentation they made when they brought me up here – the cool nicknacks they made customized just for me – just next level!
SN: When you first learned that you would be getting the prestigious honor of the very first Nike SB signature shoe, what kind of stuff goes through your head?
PR: (laughs) You know, it was one of those situations where it didn’t sink in for a while. It was like, I understood that they said yes and they were gonna give me a shoe, and I was like cool, cool, but it didn’t really hit me until I saw drawings of it and I had my first shoe design meetings and then I was really like, oh my God, this is real! And when I broke it down, considering all the different sports Nike has, and all the different athletes they have, and all the different signature shoes they have – there’s not that many signature shoes, so for me to be one of those guys…
Of course, Michael Jordan is the first name that comes to mind. He’s got the most iconic shoes to ever come from here. So for me to be on the same brand where Michael Jordan first got his signature shoes – it was unreal! It’s still unreal. And I was just thinking, how did I get from skateboarding in my backyard to being out in Portland designing my shoe for the company that Michael Jordan helped build. It was just surreal moment. I don’t know how to even describe it verbally.