Who's had the best weekend? Probably Dwyane Wade. Sure he took home NBA All-Star Game MVP last night ( 28 points, six rebounds and 11 assists), but in the sneakerhead world, the big news was the release of his and Jordan Brand's latest effort, the Jordan 2010. Last week we put up our exclusive interview with the co-designer of the sneaker, Tinker Hatfield, where he broke down all the elements that went into the Jordan 2010, and now we offer up our sit-down with Wade—the player Jordan Brand has chose to carry on MJ's sneaker-legacy. Read on for the interview where D-Wade talks his new sneaker, the difference between Converse and Jordan Brand, and offers up his favorite three Jordans of all time...
Interview By Joe La Puma
Complex: You were on Converse, what's the biggest difference between working with the people over there and working with Mark Smith and Tinker Hatfield of Jordan Brand?
Dwyane Wade: Well, not to say anything about another designer but you're just confident in them (Tinker and Mark), you know from the get go that the things that they're saying and the designs they're gonna come up with are going to be breathtaking and ground breaking. They've shown it, and the proof is in the pudding with them, so it makes my job a lot easier. That's one thing about Converse. Early on I kinda liked that I was in the process, and was telling them things I liked and disliked. But here, I just do that on a needed basis.
Complex: A lot of athletes front like they had a ton of input into the design of the signature sneakers, is it safe to say you didn't play that major of a role in the making of the Jordan 2010?
Dwyane Wade: I mean it's fair. We're all going to take a little extra credit for things but it's great to have a relationship with a brand and company that when they're developing the shoe they say "How do you like this?" and you say "Well it looks good." But I'm the kind of person that needs to see a finished product and then I need to tell you from there, that's all. I can give them my personal input, but when it comes to saying "You know we should design a shoe that looks like this!" That's not my specialty.
Complex: When the shoe was getting produced how much interaction did you have with Mark Smith and Tinker?
Dwyane Wade: Well I talk to Mark a lot on the phone to communicate. When the shoe was produced, I'd only been in the brand five or six months, so the shoe's concept was already developed. What I was able to do was to talk to Mark about putting my personal image and things into the shoe. Tinker, I actually worked with him with Converse, he designed the Wade 2.0. Tinker and I have had that relationship from back then and I know how great, and how much of a mastermind he is. As time goes on, I'll be able to work and communicate more with them.
Complex: What's your favorite part of the sneaker?
Dwyane Wade: It has to be the mirror. It's just totally different than any sneaker, any game sneaker that's going to be worn on the court. And the aesthetic is not going to take anything away from the performance of the shoe. To have that, just really shows where the designers minds are.
Complex: Being that there's a see-through aspect to the sneaker, are you going to switch sock colors a lot?
Dwyane Wade: There's been conversation about that [laughs]. We want the sneaker to look good and we're going to make sure that the shoe looks good and when people look at the shoe from the TV or at the games they look at it and kind of say "What is that?"
Complex: Jordan Brand athletes like Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul have their own signature sneakers, but Jordan has based their latest make-up around you, does that make it more special compared to the other athletes on Jordan Brand?
Dwyane Wade: You know, with CP and Melo and all the guys that have their own shoe, I know how that feels. But this is something different for me to come into the brand and to be able to right away represent this game shoe, Michael's shoe, and really to call it "our shoe" is something I never dreamed of before. It's something that I take the challenge of and hopefully I can represent the shoe the same way Michael did for so many years.
Complex: What's it like wearing a shoe where there's personal hints of Michael, like the carolina blue sock-liner, how important is that legacy for you to carry on?
Dwyane Wade: Very important. Just as important as it is to represent yourself the right way and play the game the right way because you represent the man behind the brand. That's Michael Jordan. This is the guy who we respect, we idolized growing up for so many years and still to this day. That's why I make sure even more that I stay on my P's and Q's.
Complex: Being with the Jordan brand, have you gotten special make ups of other Jordans?
Dwyane Wade: We're we working on that. For now I've been able to get the Jordans I want. Now we're working into the next phase of getting the Jordans I want in special colors, and it's a sweet thing because they're willing to make those for me. That's just one thing about the brand which makes it so great, you're never bored with the Jordan brand and that's exciting for me.
Complex: What are your top three Jordans of all time?
Dwyane Wade: Well number one would be the Jordan XI, the patent leather Jordans, hands down. Then probably the XII, the comfort of that shoe and just remembering Michael playing Utah wearing that is special . And then the Jordan 1, because of what it means to the brand and what it means to the shoe world. It was the first groundbreaking shoe. It was the one that started the buzz and it was the one that started this thing to go from one to 25.
Complex: Last question, and it's unrelated. How did you feel when Jay-Z name dropped you in Empire State of Mind?
Dwyane Wade: It was one of those things in life you can check off [Laughs]. So, I got that out the way.