Even if you aren’t familiar with Kanye West’s music or his outspoken views on politics (Saturday’s SNL performance may refresh your memory) you probably know about his high-end (read: expensive) athleisure fashion line. West’s first-ever Yeezy basketball sneaker is expected to debut during the 2019 portion of the NBA season, though industry sources told ESPN that the shoe may not be approved for athletes to wear.
West signed an extended partnership with Adidas in 2016, under which he sells Yeezy apparel and sneakers. And despite recent controversy on social media — like when he called slavery a “choice” — the brand announced that it’s not dropping the deal.
“There clearly are some comments we don’t support,” Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted said on Bloomberg TV in May. “Kanye has been and is a very important part of our strategy and has been a fantastic creator, and that’s where I’m gonna leave it.”
“Kanye and Yeezy is a very important part of our brand from a revenue standpoint,” he continued. “It’s a very important part of how we promote our products, particularly in the U.S. and other parts of the world.”
A Care2 petition for Adidas to cut ties with West remains online. It has over 27,000 supporters to date.
NBA may ban Kanye West’s Yeezy basketball sneaker
The NBA might ban athletes from wearing the Yeezy basketball sneaker if they wanted to sport the shoe during games, according to ESPN.
It features a bright, reflective “3M” heel panel that could be distracting to spectators and TV viewers, the news outlet notes. Sources say that a Yeezy basketball sneaker without reflective material would likely be approved.
BREAKING: The NBA plans to ban Kanye West’s recently shown Adidas Yeezy basketball sneaker.https://t.co/JOcRH3HwbU
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) October 1, 2018
NBA Senior Vice President of Identity, Outfitting and Equipment Christopher Arena told ESPN that, for shoes worn after February’s All-Star game, companies have until early December to send in requests for approval (and the deadline to send requests for the first half of the season was August).
An industry source confirms to Metro that the Yeezy basketball shoe has not yet been submitted for review by the league.
West wrote on Instagram that he went through over 300 samples of the sneaker before finding the right design. Development, he says, took three years.
Here’s another look:
The league recently removed long-standing color restrictions for footwear. This will allow players to sport sneakers of any color during the 2018-2019 season, which kicks off October 16.
“We’ve evolved our guidelines to allow players to display colors on their sneakers that reflect their team colors,” Arena told Sole Collector last month, “or any other colors that allow them to express their focus for a particular game.”