words & images_Nick Engvall
For Clippers fans, the path to success in the NBA has been a long uphill journey, with scattered speed bumps and road blocks along the way. Often overshadowed by their rivals in purple and gold, the most loyal fans in the League are finally looking at a future brighter than they ever have. They last made the playoffs in the 2005-2006 season, and although this season they have seen their share of struggles, a closer look at the numbers gives an idea of how this team and their fans could be more excited than ever. This season, the Clippers have a better record (7-4) against all of their Pacific Division rivals than all of the other teams, with the exception of the Lakers. Beating up on their closest opponents is a sure sign of the positive movement that seems to be going on amongst the “other” Los Angeles team.
One of the things that has many of the Clippers fans excited this season is the partnership between Baron Davis and Li-Ning. As a native of Southern California and a former student athlete at UCLA, Baron has a special place amongst the loyal fans of Los Angeles. The partnership between Baron and Li-Ning is really the first chance that many Clippers fans have had to get their hands on a signature sneaker for one of their Clippers players. Li-Ning, the Los Angeles Clippers and Baron Davis teamed up Saturday night in Los Angeles to unveil the follow-up to the Li-Ning BD Doom, the new Li-Ning Defend.
Although thousands show up each and every night to support the Clippers, many sporting the “Beardman” logo on their Li-Ning shirt, one fan seems to lead the cheers louder than the rest. Clipper Darrell, draped in his usual Staples Center attire of red and blue, was one of the first of many fans to lace up a free pair of the latest Baron Davis signature sneakers from Li-Ning. After slipping off the BD Dooms he arrived in, Clippper Darrell swapped out the original laces for the more appropriate red and blue laces, blue in the left shoe and red in the right. After his new Li-Ning Defends were laced up, Clipper Darrell set off towards his place amongst the crowd to cheer on Baron Davis and lead the rest of the Clipper Nation.
Around the stadium, fans banged together thunder sticks with Defend and Conquer logos, the lucky ones wearing a crispy new pair of the Li-Ning Defend, as they cheered Davis and the Clippers on to victory, ironically against their closest Pacific Division rivals, the Golden State Warriors.
Available now: Li-Ning Defend
Clipper Darrell gets his first look at the Li-Ning Defend.
Clipper Darrell lacing up the Li-Ning Defend, blue in the left, red in the right, just like his BD Dooms.
The Li-Ning Defend on the JumboTron.
Baron Davis wearing the black version of the Li-Ning Defend.
A closer look at Baron Davis’ Li-Ning Defend.
Another look at the Li-Ning Defend worn by Baron Davis.
Baron Davis wearing the Li-Ning Defend.
Some Baron Davis fans sporting their new Li-Ning gear.
Li-Ning’s move into the US basketball footwear market continues with new colorways of the low-cut version of the BD Doom. If the Li-Ning Defend is the go to shoe for Baron Davis’ home games at the Staple Center then the BD Doom Low could be the go to shoe for before game shoot arounds or after game relaxing. The higher cut version of the Li-Ning BD Doom received a good review in our recent Performance Review, so with all the same tooling, the low-cut version is also an option for those looking for a lighter weight option.
Two colorways of the Li-Ning BD Doom Low are now available for pre-order, a white and silver combination as well as a black and silver makeup. A suede toebox surrounded by patent material give the BD Doom a premium feel while the Beardman logo on the tongue and 3M reflective dots add some style points as well.
Available for pre-order: Li-Ning BD Doom Low
This past summer, Li-Ning officially unveiled the brand’s new “Defend & Conquer” Basketball Collection. Set to drop here at Eastbay, the Defend & Conquer Collection is a concept pack where the Defend will be designed and worn for home games and the Conquer represents those tough contests on the road. One of the players that will be wearing the Defend & Conquer Collection is Li-Ning’s lead NBA Spokesman Baron Davis. Here’s a detailed look at B-Diddy’s player edition Defend.
The Davis Defend, designed for Clipper home games, features a white synthetic base, with reptile textured sections wrapped around the toe, heel and ankle. Red works Li-Ning branding on the lateral side panel, as well as the upper lace eyelets, heel pull and “BD” logo on the heel. Royal blue hits the Li-Ning logo border, Beardman logo on the tongue and patterns on the laces and inner liner. Red and blue also take care of things on the midsole, getting help from white to finish up the outsole.
The BD Defend isn’t set to officially drop until the 17th of December, but you can reserve them today.
Pre-Order: Li-Ning BD Defend – White/Blue
In my time as a basketball sneaker fan, several shoe brands have come and gone. As a consumer, you have so many choices when it comes to what you can wear on the court.
One of the new and unique choices that I decided to review on-court is Clipper point guard Baron Davis’ signature sneaker, the Li-Ning BD Doom. A couple interesting design cues on this particular shoe are the Baron Davis “Beardman” logo on the tongue and the 3M reflective dots on the lateral and medial sides of the upper. With Baron Davis as a front man, Li-Ning did a good job capturing the essence of the veteran point guard with the logo.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Li-Ning brand, check out Nick’s Introduction to Li-Ning and the BD Doom. As for the actual performance of the shoe on the court, here’s the breakdown.
COMFORT & FIT
For me, when it comes to picking a basketball shoe, the most important thing is comfort. I want a shoe that feels good without affecting my play in any way. When I first put the BD Doom on my feet, they were super comfortable. Once I pulled the tongue up, the shoes were nice and snug, fitting like a glove throughout the entire time I played in them. Let me note that the BD Doom runs a half size small. I wear anywhere from a size 12.5 to 14 normally and took to the court in a size 13 in these, so the shoes fit well.
The shoes feature Li-Ning Bounce technology in the forefoot and Li-Ning Cushion technology in the heel which provided sufficient cushioning. The shoes felt close to the ground. It felt like there was a small piece of memory foam under my foot, which was pretty comfortable although a little thin. The midsole is an interesting shape but it did provide satisfactory cushioning. Even though the insole was a little thin, it did allow for a lower to the ground, decent court feel. When playing in a game setting, the cushioning was adequate.
With Baron Davis being a bigger guard, Li-Ning wanted to make sure they got the ankle support right, and in the case of the BD Doom, they did. In the 10 times I wore this shoe, I had no problems with ankle support. The shoe’s unique outsole design, forefoot lock-down fit and comfortable ankle collar all factored into these being a great shoe for my ankles.
When you’re playing hoops for an extended period of time, the breathability of your shoe is very important. If your feet get too hot, they can become uncomfortable and be an unnecessary distraction on the court. Breathability is one aspect of the BD Doom that needs some work. Other than the holes for laces, there aren’t any areas that allow air to flow or escape. The ankle collar is comfortable but is made of a material that can get a little hot. The same material also runs up the foot to the tongue, making for less-than-stellar breathability.
The heel-toe transition of the BD Doom was somewhat surprising. I liked everything about the shoe when I was just shooting around, but as soon as I started to run, cut and play harder, putting more stress on the shoe, a flaw was exposed. When I cut or stopped hard, the transition wasn’t particularly smooth. It wasn’t extremely painful by any means, but it was noticeable. It may be a problem that could be solved by simply wearing another pair of socks. When it comes to my feet and basketball shoes, it’s about being as comfortable as possible. If that means wearing an extra pair of socks, then so be it. I have personally never worn ankle braces but in the world of sneakers, every person is different. Although the pesky toe was the main issue I had with these shoes, it wasn’t a deal breaker. Overall, the shoes performed really well on-court.
Another important attribute of a basketball shoe is the traction. The last thing you want is to be sliding all over the court and being unable to keep your footing when driving to the hoop or defending an opponent. The BD Doom’s traction is excellent. When cutting, driving and defending, the tire-like traction pattern was very effective. The rubber outsole runs up the back heel further than your traditional midsole and the strategically placed flex grooves make this traction pattern a great one.
At 16.0 oz., it isn’t the lightest basketball shoe available, but the shoe is built really well. I have played in the super light Hyper kicks and the feather-light Kobe shoes, and, while having a really light shoe is a perk, it doesn’t always determine what shoe I’ll play in. The Air Jordan 2010 wasn’t very light and it was still a great shoe to play in. The BD Doom is a great shoe at 16.0 oz.
My final grade for the Li-Ning BD Doom is an B+. It’s a solid basketball shoe. The heel-toe transition and breathability need some work, but the comfort, cushioning, ankle support and traction are all great. I personally have a similar style of play as Baron Davis and I would recommend this shoe to a bigger point guard. The shoe would work for a forward as well. The kicks played really well and didn’t cause any major issues for my feet. I’d have no problem taking to the court in Baron Davis’ signature Li-Ning shoe any day of the week.
Available Now: Li-Ning BD Doom
*Performance Review shoes provided by Eastbay*
With NBA camps opening up this week, it seemed appropriate to take a look at some of the new fan gear that is arriving at Eastbay. Baron Davis’ Li-Ning Footwear first arrive in early August, but just in time for the kickoff training camps, a collection of Baron Davis inspired T-Shirts from Li-Ning are now available. Featuring the Beardman logo and Baron’s hometown of Los Angeles as inspiration, the collection has a little something for every taste, including a couple inspired by the Baron Davis vinyl toy that helped introduce the company to the U.S. market.
Available now: Li-Ning Baron Davis T-Shirt Collection