Complex | Sneakers

Kobe Bryant Sits Down With Russ Bengtson

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- [Kobe Bryant] Last year was a really

challenging year and we manage to pull

together, get to the playoffs and

unfortunately I went down. But yeah! you

know personally it was a challenge that I

have decided to accept. And I knew

it was gonna be tight. But this is what we

get right.We go out then, you do what you

have to. You try to help your team win. Be

successful. That's what you try to do.

Hi man! So we're here to talk about the

new shoe, nice. You're doing this for a long time. - [Kobe] Yeah. Yeah. I'm, doing it for a while.

- I think I talked to you first like KB-8,

the first KB-8.Long time ago. So..I mean

the thing for me is, you know since the

four you've been going on that low and low

and low.Did you guys..Do you feel like you

kinda maxed out where you can do it the low top? Is that part of the reason why?

- Not necessarily.But I..but I..but I

there's a lot of things that we can do

with the low as well when --101 with the

performance which is coming. But you know,

I think we wanted to innovate the industry

a little bit more. And you know since we

did the low, everybody in the basketball

base started to going low as well. And

everybody just kinda became comfortable

with that because that was the set part. I mean it was generating revenues,right? - Right.

- But it doesn't mean that we can't push

another level. So,why can't we do a high

still maintain the weight as if it's the

low. - Right.

- Right? Increase the responsiveness of a

high. That's suppose you're just being a barrier between the ankle and the product. - Right.Right.

- So we fell like there was another level

we could get to.

- I mean this gotta be the high shoe need

for everyone. - Oh, for sure!

- And this is what? The last high you wore

was the three essentially.

- Yeah. Yeah. So..I mean, we wanted to

go.. I wanted to go really really high

with this one. I saw a lot of advantages

from watching Pacquiao move actually and

one of this sparring sessions.And I

noticed the Pacquiao move and how he's

responding to his movements. Some of the

benefits he was getting from that it was, Whoa! whoa!

- What if I can do it with a basketball

shoe, will have it lighter and have it more responsive. - Right, right. - Yeah, so.

- Does it mean boxing, obviously isn't a

straightforward thing either. It's side to side. - Right.

- Side to side, changing directions, you

know. You're always concern about your ankle rolling over and so forth.

- I mean this is a thing where like

obviously flying, it happen to me. When

you saw that immediately something like

look, I wanna find a way to get this into my shoe.

- Well, actually I didn't know about

Flyman at that time so when I said at a

bar. Marcus had this crazy idea. I know

our business is booming with the low. But

you know, I want to hide it with you, but

wanna give it the other. You just wanna sit back and [audible]

and whoah, I think we have the perfect

technology for that. It's where kinda

coming to market, to a running

initiatives. But I think we can integrate

in a basketball. It's going to be a lot of

work. Running and doing something as

dynamic as basketball is very different.

But he was excited, it's kinda perfect timing for the Flyman and doing the high.

- And then obviously there was a Jordan 28

too, which was another super high cut

shoe. I mean, was that something that was

already the work? Like did you have any knowldege of that or was that..

- I had no idea, I have absolutely no

idea. So I thought about this, about two years ago. - Okay.

- And then, you know thinkers always one

step ahead on time. - Yeah, yeah , yeah.

- But I did the difference in the

materials that we used. I was really,

wanting to push the boundaries. I mean

that's what we do, we all kinda have our

niches within the Nike umbrella. In terms

of what Brown brings, KB brings what

Michael's obviously with retro business so

far. And my responsibility is to innovate.

That's what I enjoy doing, it's pushing

the boundaries. - Yeah, yeah.

- Doing things so, we did the high high

but, - Yeah. - Brought in the flyman.

- And I know like you mention this a

little bit that the stitching on the back.

I mean obviously this refers to your

scar.... - Scar right there.

- Its like the last thing that got added

to this design.

- Oh yeah!kinda give by a heart attack. So

just like, you know what. I want every

shoe to have this.And like ohh What can of

laid of process? No, Every shoe must have

them and they almost be red. Cause it's

just the symbolism of the story of the

journey of what the scar represents and

what the injury represents.

- Ok, Have you talked about also muses

being part of this. I mean is their anything specific you can complain of.

- This is the masterpiece. So, this is a

collection of what I've done through my

career. And bringing it all into one shoe.

So this one right here particularly the

masterpiece. The other muses will come to

the four fund will be immediately noticeable. - Ok! - The certain.... - Of course.

- It seem so through.But there are certain

things that you'll be able to look at. And

know exactly what the muse is. And

probably fun for people to kinda'

- so it's each shoe or further a separate

views? - Separate views. Absolutely!

- There are things I would definitely ask

you is this prelude pack. How does it

feel? Still being active? Still being in

your prime? you know, To see this older

stuff comes back and talked about those

moments in your career.

- It's a big internal debate actually

because you know, While do. You really

wanna do A preload pack. You know it's

kinda do something ritual. You know be in

ritual business so your still wanna be

continue to innovate. At this moment of

where my career is. It's fun to kinda' go

back and tell the story. Revisit the journey. That got me to what I am today.

- Cool. I think we gotta better end it for

now.Thank as always. - Very welcome man.


Russ Bengston sits down with Kobe Bryant to talk about the Kobe 9, his history with the brand, and the new Kobe Prelude Pack.

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