When you were designing for him back then, was he very hands on or excited about the prospect of having his own shoe?
Yeah. Actually the first thing for us as a brand, was that we didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on him. With him coming out and it being MJ’s last year and everything, we didn’t want to give him that signature shoe and say, "OK, you’re gonna carry the torch of the brand."
How did the .5 Concept come about?
It was created by a designer at Nike, E. Scott Morris. He’s a legend in the industry. He came by and had this concept of “What if?” It was about his take on the original Air Jordans. I started talking to him, asking if I could use that idea for Melo in the sense of, “What if the 1 was designed for Melo instead of MJ?” And, “What if the V was developed for Melo instead of MJ?” That led to this whole concept of the 1.5. There was a leveraging our heritage and Melo’s game at the same time. It was a transitional moment for him--transitioning into the brand and into his own signature shoe. When we went to look at designing the 1.5 and the whole .5 series, it was always, “What if Melo was wearing the 1?” How could we make this shoe more advanced than when it originally came out but also spoke to Melo’s personality?
When I was designing for him, I would try to teach him the process. I would try to teach him what went into every detail.
What was it like pitching Melo the concept?
We also wanted it to give you a hint of where it came from as far as the actual Air Jordan franchise. That’s how we served it up to him, and he loved the idea. The process was all new to him. He was in college and now you're just like, “You’re gonna have your own shoe, tell me what you want." That takes a little bit of time to just understand that concept. He was great to work with. When I was designing for him, I would try to teach him the process. I would try to teach him what went into every detail. He wanted to be informed on everything that happened and give me feedback on every little detail, down to logos and the overall technology, fit, and feel. He was involved from day one. So every time we did it, every shoe we did together, it got better and better.