Rubber City Soul: Nike Basketball and LeBron James Unveil the LeBron 13

Rubber City Soul: Nike Basketball and LeBron James Unveil the LeBron 13

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 01

All eyes and ears tuned in to Akron, OH yesterday night as Nike and LeBron James came together to unveil the next chapter of the Nike LeBron saga. In an energetic atmosphere that was more pep rally than sneaker media event, the night’s events were electric from start to finish – and much of that has to do the fact that this was Nike’s first event in Akron since the Air Max LeBron VII launch event in 2009. Just as we were six years ago, Sneaker News was on site to get the best look yet at the upcoming Nike LeBron 13 “Written In the Stars”, a visual concept that pays homage to LeBron’s can-do attitude that looks to inspire his hometown once again. With the return of a Megafuse upper, Hyperposite support system, and a bolstered Hexagonal Zoom Air outsole, the newest chapter of Nike LeBron was the highlight attraction

as LeBron dished out some knowledge on the process of creating another shoe with the brand he’s represented since Day One.

Throughout the unveiling, the themes of ‘Greatness’ and ‘Home’ were readily apparent. Nike Basketball reminded the world of LeBron’s current status as the single best basketball athlete in the world, but with the debut “Written In The Stars” colorway and “Akronite” proudly imprinted on each sole, both Nike and LeBron wanted his thirteenth signature to remark on where that greatness began. There’s a lot to see from the night so be sure to check out our full LeBron 13 recap, below including words from the man himself on his latest signature sneaker.

The Nike LeBron 13 launches October 10th in the “Written In The Stars” colorway. The LeBron 13 will be available on NIKEiD on September 30th.

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 02

Nike Basketball took us down to a secret floor of the University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall without any cellphone reception to get the activities started. Luckily the WiFi was a go.

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 03

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 04

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 05

LeBron was joined by senior product design manager Kevin Dodson and NBA TV’s own Kristen Ledlow to talk about his latest signature model. Ledlow was also the host of last year’s LeBron 12 launch at the Nike World Headquarters.

Kevin Dodson, Nike’s senior product design manager, on workflow with LeBron:

“LeBron and I, everyone at Nike, are perfectionists. We want a product to be built exactly to the specifications, so we’re not going to accept anything less than perfection in that regard. The last couple years we’ve done a great job of just staying really close with LeBron, always listening to feedback. For us it’s about getting it right. And that starts with really listening and really taking feedback to heart. We’re always open to making changes on the fly and the end goal is to make the perfect shoe for LeBron. We won’t stop until we get there.”

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 06
Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 07

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 08

LeBron on how his latest signature reflects his game:

“Well I think for me, with the technology that we have at Nike, I wanted to use some of it. When I go into the Lab and see some of the technology that we’re using, I was like ‘OK I want my shoe to be lighter, let’s try to get lighter’. When I was using the full length air bag it was kind of hard for us to get lighter because it runs throughout the bottom of the shoe. It’s a full bag. So it was hard for my shoe to get lighter at the time. The full length air bag worked for us very well, but I wanted to get lighter, I was kind of jumping that notion. I wanted a different feel and we were able to figure it out. With the LeBron 11, 12, and 13 I feel really good where I’m at. I’m getting older. I want to continue to get lighter. That’s not only with my shoe but with my body as well.”

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 09

LeBron on what he wanted to be better from the LeBron 12:

“It’s hard for me to say because they perform so well. I mean, I wore them throughout the whole season, I didn’t have any problems with them at all, and it got me all the way to the Finals and I performed with them there, man. But it was just a clean slate. After the 12s (and I’m gonna continue to wear them obviously to this day) but it was a clean slate for us when we started the 13 and we figured out how to take the Hex pads that we had from the 12s and make them even more dynamic, make them with even more cushion. Make them bigger. Make them hit some of the hot spots in my foot that we didn’t tackle last year with the 12. When I saw how comfortable the Hex pads rolled last year on the 12, that’s the question that I asked ‘How can we improve the Hex pads from the 12 to the 13?’”

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 10

LeBron on the Hyperposite overlay:

“If you were able to see the process of the shoe, there’s only like 3 pieces to the shoe. You have the upper, the midsole, and the outsole. If you were to take the shoestrings out of it, the shoe won’t just fall. These parts of the shoe that you see just gives me all the lockdown comfort that I need. I do a lot of my turning in the top of the foot. I do a lot of my cutting.”

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 11

LeBron on how the process has changed from making his first signature sneaker to his latest:

“I think back then it was like – just put as much material on it as possible. I’m 18 years old, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care about the weight, let’s put as much material on there. I want it to look like this, I want it to look like that. I think from the 1 to the 13, 13 years later, I’ve gotten older. I have more miles on my body. Technology has gotten better over the years not only from Nike but from everybody. So how can we use that to our advantage? And I think we’ve been able to do that from the 1 to the 13.”

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 12

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 13

The next portion of the event featured an audience of thousands mostly comprised of children involved in the LeBron James Family Foundation. Hosted by the Cavaliers’ own in-game arena hype man Ahmaad Crump, the Cavs dance squad kicked things off while we waited for LeBron to take the stage.

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 14

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 15

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 16

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 17

The event even featured a slam poet accompanied by electric violin to perform a piece called Rubber City Sole that likened LeBron’s return home to a story you’d find in Homer’s The Odyssey.

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 18

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 19

The Cavaliers’ in-game DJ Steph Floss was also in attendance to get the crowd hype while awaiting LeBron’s arrival.

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 20

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 21

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 22

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 23

LeBron on why he can’t wear Jordans, among other things:

“I think every Nike athlete is different and I support all Nike athletes. I’ll wear a Nike athlete’s shoe past or present. For my body, and for what I do, it’d be hard to take something from someone else – another athlete – it’d be hard for me to take from Mike’s shoes because Mike played at 212, or 215 (lbs) at the max and I wouldn’t be able to take some of the specifications that he had off of his shoe onto my shoe because I’m playing at a different weight class. The shoes that Penny Hardaway wore, I couldn’t because my weight class. I think what we all try to do though is not have something that’s only performance based, but have something that’s style-based. Those are the things I think we all look at as Nike athletes including my current teammate Kyrie Irving – a shoe that’s great performance wise but can translate off the court as well. I think that’s something we all take from each other, but as far as the exact specs we (Nike and I) have always done our own thing.”

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 24

LeBron on his favorite colorways and how he plans what he’ll wear for the next game:

“It has some thought. Sometimes it’s just spur of the moment, some of it’s just kind of just random. It all depends on how I’m feeling. Like I was in L.A. and I know my Fairfax team is out there and they was doing well at the time. I was playing the Clippers and I was like ‘OK let me wear the Fairfax 11s’ when I was on the floor. When I came back here (to Cleveland as a member of the Miami Heat) that was a shoe that I played in when I was in Cleveland, and I was like ‘OK I’m gonna bust these ‘Christ The Kings’ out.’ I’ve always thrown things out there to let people know a wide range of how long I’ve been doing this. I’ve been very blessed to have 13 signature shoes. That’s not even counting my Soldier line, my lows, my Ambassador, and whatever else we have. (Laughs) We have more. We have more. So it’s pretty cool to be able to go out and go back in time and wear something that I’ve worn in previous years.”

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 25

LeBron wouldn’t mind a South Beach revival though:

“The ones that I wanna bring back for real is the Miami Nights. We did some crazy joints with those especially with the 8s.”

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 26

LeBron on where the design process starts for each signature model:

“If you look at all my shoes from year to year, there’s very little resemblance. People are like ‘ah, you don’t wanna stick to the same?’ Some of my favorites are the 7s, and if you look at the 7s to the 8s it’s totally different. The 1s to the 2s. the 12s to the 13s is different as well. I always like to take little small pieces here and there from the midsole to the outsole. The upper. I always like to fine tune things and keep people a little off balance with it.”

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 29

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 30

Fellow Cavalier and Nike Basketball teammate Kyrie Irving even came out for a brief hello to the crowd – he was walking just fine by the way. Rumor has it Kyrie will be ready for Cavaliers’ training camp in the coming weeks. We can’t wait to see what the Nike Kyrie 2 has in store.

Nike Lebron 13 Launch Event Recap 31

Thanks to Nike for another incredible launch. The LeBron 13 drops this Wednesday on NIKEiD and will be followed by the “Written in the Stars” on October 10th. The “Home” hits stores on October 27th.

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