Following the USA Men’s Basketball Team practice yesterday at the DC Armory, myself and the rest of the media; were taken to the Converse Block Party at the Banneker Community Center to celebrate the culture of basketball and how it brings community together.
Converse is rooted in basketball performance. They created the first basketball shoe with the Chuck Taylor in 1917 when Converse was a company that catered to the rubber industry. From there Converse would go on to grow their performance needs in basketball by outfitting nearly every pivotal NBA player and in particular Julius “Dr. J” Erving. The Converse Pro Leather first debuted in 1976 and while it dominated the court it also quickly became an icon of culture off the court so it is only fitting that Converse bring the shoe back to celebrate the World Basketball Festival.
The shoe was a dominant force of the Block Party, as imagery of the Pro Leather was posted all around us in a beautiful graphic form. The graphics displayed the clean but bold since of individualism the shoe represents to the basketball world. Coming in a variety of colors Converse plans to unleash the shoe to the masses this coming fall but for now they are releasing the suede version of the shoe in six limited edition colorways that represent each city that celebrates the World Basketball Festival. They were kind enough to give me a pair that was created for this event and I must say they are pretty dope and will be going into my rotation.
The message that I took away from the event was the notion of being rooted in the community. The Block Party has genuine values, as it is an effort to not only celebrate the history of basketball in communities around the globe but also improve the future of basketball in those communities by refurbishing the court that young athletes develop their skills on. To draw an even deeper connection all of the events food is sourced from local businesses to help create a taste that is genuine and homegrown. Pick-up basketball games were being played on the new courts while up and coming music acts were providing a vibrant soundtrack. Tanya Morgan, Fresh Daily, The Dream and my current favorite rapper, Maybach Music’s one and only Stalley put on amazing shows (more to come on my experience with Stalley!)
It was great to see a company that has a true sense of what they are to the world of basketball. Converse is no longer the dominant performance leader, that is Nike’s position; they are now a celebration of history and culture and these Block Parties only reinstate that notion.
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