Nike Ja 1
The Nike Ja 1 is the debut signature shoe for American professional basketball player, Temetrius Jamel “Ja” Morant. Unveiled on Christmas Day 2022 in a game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, the sneaker is expected to release in April 2023.
In his first three years in the NBA, Ja Morant wore over a dozen different basketball sneaker–including the Air Jordan 1 and Nike Kyrie 4. The South Carolina-native took a liking to Kevin Durant's Nike KD 4 and Kobe Bryant's Nike Kobe 6 for their low-to-the-ground tooling setup and short collar. Unsurprisingly, Morant's inaugural signature model bears semblance to both silhouettes in the aforementioned aspects, while continuing to reevaluate the future of the brand's basketball category.
Touted as the Swoosh's “first Gen Z signature athlete,” Morant defies historic expectations had of point guards: Standing at 6′2″, the former Murray State Racer showcases a bold, fearless style of play that evolves the game of basketball and modernizes its culture as it enables highlight reels and back-and-forths on social media. Nike's Ja 1 combines “G12″'s authenticity with performance-driven design for a signature shoe sure to fill in the void left behind by Kyrie Irving, whom parted ways with the brand in early December 2022.
Unveiled in a “Day One” style, the sneaker was in the works for more than two years, suggesting Nike planned a signature design for Morant since signing him to a multi-year endorsement deal ahead of the NBA Draft in 2019. The model features a breathable mesh construction at its base, with couples with fuse material and leather overlays to create a ride that's equal parts breathable and durable. Ja Morant's official logo–”JA” above a chevron–lands on the tongue label, nodding to the guard's “verticality, speed, and sharpness.” The once overlooked and under-recruited college player got his “Beneath No One” motto onto the shoe; his daughter's name, “Kaari,” is also stamped on the side of the Ja 1. Tech-wise, the Zoom Air units enclosed underfoot works with a herringbone-patterned traction to enable the type of dunks, cuts, and crossovers essential to Morant's “box-office” style of play.
The Nike Ja 1 is expected to release at retailers in full family sizing come April 2023, with Adult sizes priced at $110 USD.