When Milwaukee selected Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15 pick in 2013, the collective public said, “Who?” The tall, skinny 19-year-old from Greece’s second division was unknown to even some of the hardcore NBA fans. Now, entering the offseason after his best season as a pro, Giannis is one of the biggest stars in the league. He is a 7-footer who regularly dunks from the free throw line, has the handles of a guard, and will envelop you on defense throwing your shot attempts into the stands. He is on the path to go down as one of the greatest and most unique players of all time.
As his standing in the league has grown, there has been a clamor for a Giannis signature shoe. Well, that time has come. As Nike begins fazing out the Kobe, they are introducing the Freak 1 which will be released on July 12. Giannis will debut the shoe during the FIBA Championships where he will be representing Greece.
The first thing about the shoe that really grabs your attention is the backwards Swoosh that stretches along the outsole all the way to the heel. Sitting just inside the Swoosh is double-stacked Nike Zoom Air. Meant to protect your knees/feet from high-impact landings, especially after dunks and blocks, the Zoom Air bags allow you to transition quickly from landing to exploding back into the play while minimizing any stinging or pain. That amount of cushioning will also keep your feet fresh throughout the game so that during crunch time in the fourth quarter, you aren’t dealing with any soreness that could limit the amount of lift you get on your shots.
Giannis’s shoe will also feature four lacing bands at the forefoot of the shoe to keep your foot locked down. As basketball gets faster and more physically demanding, you need a shoe that can keep up with every eurostep, hopstep, stepback, and spin move you make. The bands give you the confidence to play as hard as you can, knowing the shoe can handle whatever you throw at it. The goal was to make sure your foot doesn’t ever slide around inside the shoe throwing off your balance. They are also a shout-out to his four brothers who Giannis leans on for support and strength.
The shoe’s traction pattern is a unique display and offers key storytelling aspects. Drawing upon inspiration from his late father, there are three large roses, his dad’s favorite flower, within the multi-directional traction pattern. Giannis said, “With every step I take, he’s always going to be there helping me.” The pattern was designed to give maximum traction for long strides and quick changes of direction.
With a price of only $120.00, the Freak 1 is an excellent choice if you’re looking to change up your basketball shoe but don’t want to break the bank. You can check out the Freak 1, once it drops on July 10th, as well as new Giannis apparel by visiting eastbay.com.