Maya Moore: Champion

Maya Moore: Champion

You’d have a tough time finding someone more accomplished than Maya Moore. Her extensive resume is highlighted by four titles in seven seasons, five All-Star selections, and an MVP award, already establishing her as one of the best to ever play the game. And she did all of that before the age of 29.

 

Maya Moore

In addition to dominating on the court, she’s also proven to be incredibly influential off the court as one of the biggest stars in women’s basketball. She became the first female basketball player to sign a deal with the iconic Jordan Brand, where she’s received several successful player’s edition shoes and helped grow the women’s game with events like the Jordan Brand Classic for high school All-Americans.

We asked Maya Moore about winning championships, working with Jordan Brand, and what’s next for the superstar who’s already done it all.

Q: You won your fourth title last season. How does that compare to your previous championships?

A: “This past championship was one of the most challenging and satisfying experiences of my professional career. It’s just really unbelievable to think about four titles in seven years, and the group of people that I’ve been able to do that with. It’s been amazing.”

Q: You’ve won at every level: college, pros, and internationally. What’s your secret?

A: “There’s no question that I wouldn’t be who I am without the amazing teammates and coaches I’ve had. I’m really spoiled to have some of the best of the best to ever play the game or coach the game by my side through so many championship experiences. I’ve been so blessed to have talent and opportunity around me, but I try to make sure that I am as competitive as I can be in every situation. That’s a key ingredient to my success. Trying to compete at everything I can to make sure that I have a competitive advantage when I step onto the court.”

Q: What advice would you give to athletes who look up to you?

A: “First, surround yourself with quality people who understand and are trying to pursue the same things that you are. I had great people when I was a teenager and young adult that had been where I was trying to go and I could learn from them and grow in those years. I’d also say just understand how much work and sacrifice it is going to take to reach your goals and how sweet it is when at the end you can stand knowing you gave everything you had whether you won or lost. Continue to pursue your passion. Make sure you are cultivating that passion for the sport, for your team, for your craft – whatever it may be.”

Q: You’re one of the biggest names in the game now. What’s that been like?

A: “It’s really amazing to think about the platform that I have now as one of the top WNBA players.”

Russell Westbrook & The AJ XXXII

Russell Westbrook & The AJ XXXII

Air Jordans have seamlessly combined innovative performance and iconic style ever since they burst onto the scene in the ’80s. Perhaps no shoe better represented that idea than the Air Jordan 2, which borrowed inspiration from luxury dress shoes to create a sophisticated Italian vibe, while also introducing a groundbreaking sole unit. The result? A shoe that offered a legendary look and feel both on and off the court.

The newest member of the iconic Air Jordan line, the AJ XXXII, takes inspiration from the AJ 2, striving for that same combination of performance and style. Our latest cover athlete, Russell Westbrook, is the perfect player to represent the AJ XXXII.

Russ AJ32 Featured

Westbrook is coming off an MVP season where he made triple-doubles look like just another day at the office. Off the court, Westbrook is also notorious for his unique sense of fashion. He’s a rare athlete that makes headlines both for what he does on the court, as well as what he wears off it.

Tate Kuerbis, the AJ XXXII’s designer, gave us the inside scoop on the design process behind the shoe, new tech features, why it’s the perfect shoe for Westbrook, and more.

The AJ XXXII takes inspiration from the iconic Air Jordan 2. What was the design process like and can you highlight some of the more notable elements of the shoe?

Russ AJ 32 Mid

“The Air Jordan XXXII is inspired by the essence of the AJ II, which was the first luxury basketball shoe and was crafted in Italy. We took cues from the Italian craft of the AJ 2 plus MJ’s love of Italian sports cars and combined that inspiration with the latest performance innovations to bring the AJ XXXII to life. One of the standout features of the XXXII is the use of high-tenacity yarn within Flyknit technology. This takes the greatness of Nike Flyknit and makes it uniquely Jordan. In addition to providing athletes with the ultimate flexibility, support, and protection, it also allowed us to create a lacing system within it that is hidden. This gives it an “under the hood” feel, which people have come to expect from Air Jordans.”

Jordan has always introduced innovative shoes focused of basketball performance. How is the AJ XXXII built for the modern age of basketball?

Athlete insights are at the heart of everything we do. We gained valuable insights from the best players in the world to help create the XXXII. This includes Jordan Brand family members at every position, from young rising stars to seasoned veterans. What we heard from them is that they covet fit, form, and function, so we brought those insights into the XXXII to make it a shoe optimized for today’s game and athlete.

Can you break down some of the tech features behind the shoe, from the Flyknit upper to the Flight Speed Technology, cushioning, and traction? How do all these features really help athletes excel?

“The AJ XXXII introduces new, luxury-inspired performance innovations. It features an unmasked Flyknit upper with high-tenacity yarn that seamlessly combines stretch, support, and zonal lockdown. The laces integrate into Flyknit construction for distraction-free lockdown, creating an under-the-hood-type experience. Tuned-up Flight Speed technology unleashes the energy of Zoom Air units for an explosive step.”

Russell Westbrook is on our cover wearing the AJ XXXII. How does this shoe fit the needs of Russell’s unique game?

“The XXXII is a great combination of performance and style. The way Russell plays demands that he has the best performing sneaker on his feet, and style is something that is engrained in him as a person and player.”

The AJ XXXI took after the AJ 1. Now the AJ XXXII is taking after the AJ 2. Can you talk about that idea of drawing back on historic Jordans and introducing refreshed versions of these classics to a younger generation of athletes?

Russ AJ32 Low

“Being able to draw inspiration from classic silhouettes is a tremendous benefit for our designers but not a mandatory formula the team leans on when designing the next Air Jordan. Our goal is to continue to celebrate the brand’s legacy while creating new classics for the next generation of athletes.”

Jordan shoes are famous for combining style and performance. The AJ 2 definitely went after that idea. Can you explain how the team worked to make the AJ XXXII not only perform great, but also create a fresh look that can be rocked off the court?

“The brand’s number one priority for every game shoe is to create the best performance shoe possible. Because of Michael Jordan’s culture-defining style, his shoes were adopted by fans off the court and have become staples in the fashion world. That legacy is engrained in the brand’s DNA which allows us to focus on performance while still incorporating style elements that people have grown to love.”

Jordan shoes have some of the most iconic colorways of all time. Can you give us any teasers for colorways we might be seeing with the XXXII?

“The “Bred” colorway will always have a special place in the brand’s heritage and be represented on Air Jordan silhouettes. For future colorways… stay tuned!”

9.22 RELEASE REPORT: THE AJ 32S ARE FINALLY HERE + 2 NEW AJ RETROS

9.22 RELEASE REPORT: THE AJ 32S ARE FINALLY HERE + 2 NEW AJ RETROS

Each week, we’ll showcase the most popular upcoming shoe drops. We’ll give you the lowdown on the prices and sizes, break down the history of each shoe, and fill you in on the newest tech features. Check back every week for the hottest shoe drops. If it’s hyped, it’s here. You can check out the full list of releases on Eastbay’s Release Calendar. Here’s what you have to look forward to this week:

JORDAN AJ XXXII MID ‘ROSSO CORSA’ – SEPT. 23 AT 10 AM ET

AJ 32 9.22 Blog

MJ’s 32nd signature shoe is finally ready for its day in the sun, and the ‘Rosso Corsa’ is the perfect colorway to start things off. Its nickname comes from the popular shade of red that adorns many of Italy’s fastest race cars, but the similarities between the shoes and the car don’t end with the paint job. From its Flyknit construction to its Flightspeed technology and even the launch button in the sockliner, these shoes are truly in a class of their own when it comes to performance and style — just like the sports cars themselves. Men’s $184.99.

JORDAN RETRO 11 LOW IE ‘FIRE RED’ – SEPT. 23 AT 10 AM ET

Retro 11 9.22

In 1996, Mike debuted a special player-exclusive colorway of his AJ 11 Lows that had sneakerheads clamoring for their own pair. Well, it may have taken over two decades, but those dreams have finally become reality. These retros feature a white leather upper with gym red overlays for a classic look that somehow always stays in style. Men’s $169.99.

JORDAN GIRLS’ RETRO 6 LOW ‘SUN BLUSH’ – SEPT. 23 AT 10 AM ET

Retro 6 9.22

Made exclusively for girls, the new Retro 6 ‘Sun Blush’ is another head-turner from Jordan Brand. A black textured-leather upper gives this low-top shoe a smooth look and helps draw attention to the bright pink, translucent outsole and chrome lacelock. This is sure to be a key piece of your wardrobe all season long. Girls’ $119.99.

NIKE AIR MORE UPTEMPO ‘KNICKS’ –  SEPT. 23 AT 10 AM ET

NIKE AIR MORE UPTEMPO ‘BARELY GREEN’ – SEPT. 23 AT 10 AM ET

Air More Uptempo

The shoe made famous by basketball legend Scottie Pippen pays homage to one of Chicago’s oldest and most-heated rivalries. The ‘90s were full of incredible NY v. Chi-Town games, and some of the battles between ‘Pip and NY C Patrick Ewing will be talked about for generations to come. The classic NY orange-blue-white colors make up the shoe and Ewing’s now-retired #33 graces the heel — a perfect way to pay tribute to the mightiest of foes.

And ladies, we’ve got a special treat for you — the first-ever women’s specific Uptempo colorway. The ‘Barely Green’ is a fresh take on a classic shoe and is as stylish and comfortable as it gets. ‘Knicks’: Men’s $159.99Boys’ Grade School $129.99. ‘Barely Green’: Women’s $159.99.