Don C has been a busy man this year. He was the first non-athlete to release an original silhouette with Jordan Brand with the 312 Legacy, a lifestyle shoe that pays homage to his hometown of Chicago. He’s had LeBron James wear his shorts and Jonah Hill wear his jersey, two big wins for his clothing line, Just Don, while also starring in the Foot Locker Week of Greatness campaign. Now he’s tasked with relaunching the Converse ERX, a basketball shoe from the ‘80s and his childhood memory, along with a matching apparel line.

Don’s put his signature Just Don touch on the high-top sneaker: It has white pony hair on the upper, gold jewels on Converse’s chevron logo, and the “CONS” on the tongue is replaced with “DONS,” an ode to his work on the shoe.

There’s an underlying reason why people want to work with Don C, behind his name recognition or hype factor: He’s the real deal when it comes to sneakers, streetwear, and sports. You often get the idea when talking to creatives in the sneaker space that they know a little bit about shoes, but not the fine details. Not with Don C—he knows everything. He doesn’t pause to remember names or skip over major details. You don’t need to fact check him or nod along in agreement as he makes egregious historical mistakes. He remembers it all like it was yesterday, because he was involved in it yesterday, and he wants to use that knowledge to help propel the story of his footwear projects today.

Don admits himself that he was never good at basketball, but rather it made him obsessive about the sport and want to find a way to contribute to the sport, thus getting into sneakers and spotrswear.

“There are only so many people who can do what Don does in regards to having that authenticity in sport,” says Converse’s Senior Director of Special Projects, Jimmy Manley. “It felt like an easy relationship to build on. One that was authentic for him, and one that was authentic for the brand, and the kids.”

Don’s work on the Air Jordan II and the Nike Air Force 1 has proved successful in the past, and it’s made him one of the most sought-after collaborators in the game. He’s not just Kanye West’s friend, but someone whose name holds its own weight.

The sneaker itself will release today on Just Don’s website and November 24 globally at Converse retailers, but here’s an indepth understanding of the history of the shoe, the collaboration, and Don’s involvement with shoes.

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