Everyone remembers the night LeBron James decided to join the Miami Heat, mostly because we all have “The Decision” saved on our DVRs with the instructions not to erase until we decide. It was a pretty big night in the NBA, one that affected basically everything that has happened since then. The Carmelo Anthony trade, the Deron Williams trade, Baron Davis becoming a Cavalier — all that stuff and more, just because one guy decided to switch teams. A monumental night, to be sure.
It even affected things you don’t really think about, like the color of LeBron’s shoes. The design process for a pair of signature shoes like that runs so far in advance, that a thing like changing teams could really have a ripple effect for a shoe company. Which is why I asked LeBron’s Nike designer, Jason Petrie, whether or not Nike knew ahead of time which team LeBron would choose. After all, he’s the one tasked with making sure LBJ’s shoe matches his uniform. This would be a key component of the design. His response, during a media event for the new LeBron 8 PS this past weekend:
“We found out when you did. We were just hoping somewhere that isn’t cold. No one in our organization knew where LeBron was going. We had a colorway for every other possible team he could have chosen. There’s a Cleveland Cavaliers version that no one will ever see.”
You can choose whether or not you believe this — because if there is anyone to know which team LeBron would play for it would be the company that pays him hundreds of millions of dollars — but I’m buying it. Yes, the colors of a shoe are important, but they can also be changed pretty quickly, as you can tell from the numerous choices available for most signature shoes. And if Nike didn’t know, then I’m guessing it was as big of a shock around the league as it seems to be. Maybe it was planned beforehand (duh), but those guys did a great job of keeping things under wraps. In a league where everything leaks, that this was kept a secret until the day it was announced is pretty incredible.
Now, all that needs to be done is getting my hands on one of those secret pairs of Knicks-themed LeBrons. The white, red and black is great, but blue and orange would be real neckbreakers.