The Nike Air Force 1: one of the most iconic pieces of athletic footwear ever produced. Originally released in 1982, it was the first shoe to use Nike’s “Air” technology, and it would mark the beginning Nike’s ascent into the company it is today. It was almost perfect, but it would take a famous rapper/mogul to truly bring out the shoe’s potential 28 years later.
The design meetings must have been burdensome, lasting until the wee hours of the morning. Jay-Z, examining the shoe in silence for what seemed like an eternity, would finally suggest, “What if we made the thing totally black?” A look of dread would crawl across Nike CEO Philip Knight’s face. “But, Jay,” he would protest, “I don’t think that would work. After all, a lot of the success of the first model hinged upon the fact that it was totally white.”
Jay-Z would pull his shades off, lean forward in his seat, and confess to Knight, “I know it’s a risk, Philly K, but you’re going to have to trust me on this one. We’ll put ‘HOVA’ on the tongue as a precaution.” Knight, exhausted from the long brainstorming session, would eventually give in, saying, “OK, Jigga, but we can only fit ‘Hov.’ I think people still will grasp the general concept”
The shoe is one of five being auctioned off tomorrow at 9 a.m. for the Shawn Carter Foundation. Jay-Z will perform later in the evening at Radio City Music Hall as part of Nike’s World Basketball Festival.