Joining an elite set of basketball greats with their own Nike signature shoe, Indiana Pacers icon Paul George has unveiled the Nike PG1 ahead of his team’s game against the Denver Nuggets at London’s O2 Arena. Featuring a forefont strap, flywire cable loops and a pearlescent-finish sole that contains a Zoom Air unit, the PG1 places George amongst a list of greats which includes Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and of course Michael Jordan — and follows up on George’s reveal last year as the cover star of the NBA 2017 game.
We caught up with the three-time NBA All-Star in London at a college three-on-three tournament, where he’d given out pairs of PG1s to some of the teams; “They ate it up here – it was a very energetic with plenty of good vibes,” he says. With George set to debut the PG1 on court against the Nuggets, we asked for his insights into the launch of his signature shoe.
He’s Wanted to Be a Signature Guy for a Long Time
“I always wanted a signature shoe but first I had to get to that level. The opportunity got presented to me by my agency and Nike delivered the great news that I was the next signature player. I was ecstatic — there are no other words to describe the feeling. I’d dreamed about it since I was a little kid and my friends and family all knew how important it was for me.”
As a Kid He Designed a Lot of Shoes
“The difference is that at that age you don’t know what you want in a shoe — you just want it to look cool. But now I know what I need in a shoe and I was able to highlight that. It was great to have that kid vision in my mind but to also know what I need now in my life. The shoe that I had in my mind back then would probably have not made a great basketball shoe — it was what a modern sneaker would be with no advantage on court. My shoe is light and it gives me advantages and allows me to be explosive on court, whereas as a kid I had no thought of that.”
He Was Very Hands-On in the Design Process
“I worked really closely with the Nike team — we went through many stages and rough drafts. They’re the geniuses behind the shoe and my job was the easy part – I was able to express what I love and the passions in my life and they went to the drawing board and came up with all the cool ideas that really gave the shoe that PG thing and made it personal to me. There were some bumps in the road but that’s what makes the process and you need some back and forth — ‘this doesn’t work, let’s try this’ — and we’re at the point now where I love the shoe that we came up with.”
He’s Ready to Go Even Without Tying the Shoes Up
“I love the tightness and the feeling of being locked down. It’s a snug fit as soon as you put the shoe on and the forefront strap is another element of locking you in there. Plus the wedges that go along the sides of the shoe are for cutting and sliding and you have that immediate response of movement. Plus the shoe is light and they’re comfortable — that’s another part that separates these from other shoes.”
Michael Jordan Opened up the Connection Between the Sneaker World and Basketball
“Nowadays everyone wears basketball sneakers but it was him who first made it cool, which is traditionally why basketball has been fashionable. [At the Indiana Pacers] We started this year out with some of the guys on the team wearing Kobes or Kyries or LeBrons but now they’re like, ‘Man we’re all rocking with you now.’ It’s pretty awesome to have my teammates wanting to be in my shoes and to have my shoe as a part of our game — thinking about it in that way is pretty awesome!”