words // Brandon Richard
images // Nick DePaula
Since signing a multi-year deal with Li-Ning back in 2008, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Baron Davis and the appreciative basketball fans in China have developed a mutual admiration for each other. The seeds for this relationship were planted when Baron first made the trip to China in 2007 for a charity basketball game put on by Yao Ming and Steve Nash. Davis recently described his trips to China as “eye-opening” and credits his relationship with Li-Ning for expanding his worldly view.
In tribute to Davis’ respect for the Chinese and their culture, his new Li-Ning Conquer shoe has been released in a “Chinese New Year” colorway. The shoe sports a deep red shrouded upper, honoring the color most commonly associated with the holiday. In China, the color red is symbolic of luck and happiness, and is frequently used for Chinese New Year decor and gifts.
In describing the tone of red selected for the Conquer, designer Eric Miller explains to Eastbay that Baron wanted a deeper shade this season. “The all red one that he’ll wear will have more a blood red tone that’s a deeper red,” says Miller. “He said, ‘I don’t want a cherry or Ferrari red. I want a real red that has more of a maroon tint to it.'”
The mostly red shoe is accented by black and white, including the Beardman logo on the medial ankle and BD branding on the heel. Like a few colorways of Davis’ previous Li-Ning shoe, the BD Doom, faux snake material appears throughout the shoe’s upper. Being fond of the snake texture first used on the Doom, Baron wanted to make use of the material once again, but switch things up a little to keep the new releases fresh.
“Baron wanted to keep the snake; he just wanted to make sure it was a different snake,” Miller reveals. “He said, ‘I want the snake, but I don’t want it to be the same one. I don’t want it to have that lacquer finish. I like it, but that was cool for the Doom.’ So, we found a snake that’s on probably half of the Defend & Conquers, and you can feel the grain a bit more, but it isn’t overpowering and ridiculously shiny like the first ones were. [laughs]”
A shoe that was also created in association with 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, the “Chinese New Year” Li-Ning BD Conquer is available to purchase at Eastbay today.
Available: Li-Ning BD Conquer – Red/Black – Chinese New Year