In August of 2017, Kobe Bryant was dishing Twitter challenges to professional athletes and Kendrick Lamar. For example, the Black Mamba tweeted at Isaiah Thomas to challenge him to make the All-NBA First Team, DeMar DeRozan to rekindle a lost friendship from his youth, and Kendrick Lamar’s record label to revolutionize the music program at Centennial High to name some.
Giannis Antetokounmpo originally didn’t receive one but he reached out to make sure he got his challenge. Setting the bar extremely high, Kobe dared the then 23-year-old to shoot for the stars and become the league’s MVP. Two seasons later, Giannis made good on the challenge from the Black Mamba as he was awarded the Maurice Podoloff trophy for his performance during the 2018-19 NBA season.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) August 27, 2017
If you have read any articles about Giannis, you’ll know that his family comes first and his love for basketball has changed his life. With Nike and high-profiled social creators, they looked to partner up and inspire the next generation by highlighting the beauty of playing sports and staying active as ‘Sport Changes Everything’.
Giannis’ North American tour started in sunny Southern California at VidCon in Anaheim. The convention center was filled with energy, enthusiasts, children and accompanying parents who were dragged along. We were lucky enough to be in attendance to witness Giannis’ genuine charm and enthusiasm. 10:15 AM rolls around and the Greek Freak makes his entrance on the Nike Sports Court to a roaring crowd.
Looking to influence a more active lifestyle for the youth, Giannis was featured on Saturday morning to run some basketball drills led by the Nike coaches with the kids. Since winning the MVP, Nike and Giannis has revealed his first signature shoe, the Air Zoom Freak 1. Best believe the children were laced up with the MVP’s shoe. After giving about 30 kids a memory of a lifetime, Giannis linked up with some of 2Hype members.
Giannis teaching 2Hype’s Jesser and Cash his Eurostep:
Today, @Giannis_An34 joined us at the Nike Sport Court @VidCon to teach @jesser and @CashNastyGaming a few things. Share your own version of the trick using #thereplay for a chance to be featured on the Nike Playlist. pic.twitter.com/Wuxa8sAWFk
— Nike LA (@NikeLA) July 14, 2019
This initiative didn’t end with the weekend. Keep an eye out for The Nike PLAYlist on YouTube. The PLAYlist is a sport-inspired series partnering professional athletes and kids. In the preview, we see stars like Todd Gurley, Crystal Dunn, Lauri Hernandez, De’Arron Fox and more involved.
From Anaheim, Giannis was on the move and made the trek down the 91 and the 105 freeway. At King Drew Magnet High School, he sipped on some Drew Aid and sat in on the premier Pro-AM basketball league. At the Drew, he showed off some unreleased Blue Swoosh “Alphabet Soup” Freak 1s.
From Greece to Watts.
— Drew League (@DrewLeague) July 14, 2019
Although the day was filled with business, the journey didn’t end there. Giannis made a stop at Nike’s west coast hub, The Grove. On stage, Giannis answered questions and took photos with fans. While Giannis has spurned any recent talks of playing in Los Angeles for the Lakers or Clippers, fans still came from all over SoCal to see the superstar (still keeping the faith that he’ll don the purple and gold one day).
Nike Air Zoom Freak 1 Colorways
Released Date: June 28, 2019
Release Date: July 10, 2019
Release Date: September 7, 2019
“Coming to America”
Release Date: August 2, 2019
Nike and Giannis unveiled the shoes in Athens, Greece on June 28. For those with an itch to make your own PEs, these can be customized on NikeiD for $140 USD.