When Nike debuted its City Edition jerseys for every NBA club last season, the Miami Heat’s alternative was so fresh and genius that it was the envy of every fan base. The Miami Vice themed jerseys—an ode to South Beach and the iconic 80s TV show with its alternative colors and font—were such a hit the Heat called it “the most successful uniform campaign in the history of the NBA.” Topping them ain’t going to be easy, but another team in the Eastern Conference might have this season's most hyped and enviable third jersey.
On November 17, the Brooklyn Nets will take the court in their Notorious B.I.G. inspired City Edition alternatives. The all-back uniform features a “Brooklyn camo” pattern along the trim of both the jersey and shorts that’s an obvious nod to Biggie’s colorful Coogi sweaters he wore during his days dominating the charts in the 90s. We’ll spare you any corny "Juicy" or “Hypnotize” references, but when images of the jersey first leaked on social media let’s just say it was a hit.
“I wish we could wear it more than 16 times,” Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie told us.
We caught up with Dinwiddie to talk about the alternative jersey, where he ranks Biggie among the greatest rappers, and his ambitious plan to showcase a different pair of custom kicks from his K8IROS sneaker brand for all 82 regular season games.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
What was your reaction when you first saw the jersey?
I thought the jersey was dope. I actually just saw it officially in person for the first time [Tuesday]. I know it got leaked on social media but, nah man, I wish we could wear it more than 16 times.
Did you guys have any hint that this is what Nike was going to go with for the City Edition jerseys this year?
I didn’t know. I wasn’t privy to that information. I heard they were going to do some Biggie stuff with the City jersey, but that was it.
Has the team had a chance to talk to the Wallace family about Biggie’s legacy this year?
Not this year. But I’m assuming that’s coming soon in the future.
The jersey is basically inspired by Biggie’s famous Coogi sweaters. Is there anyone on the team that could confidently pull off a Coogi sweater in 2018?
I would say Alan Williams. Alan’s got it. He could do it.
I know you’re a California guy, but where would you rank Biggie among the best rappers?
I’m a California guy, but in my opinion I think Biggie is the best rapper.
So he’s No. 1 in your top 5?
If we’re going off of like complete career and all the accomplishments then you have to go with JAY-Z just because of the length of his career. But when you’re talking about talent I don’t put anybody above Biggie.
Who’s in your top 5?
JAY-Z, Tupac, Biggie, I would say Eminem would have to be in there with all the times he went platinum. This fifth might be an unpopular opinion and recency bias, but based on sheer number of hits you have to go with Drake.
Wanted to ask you about a recent quote teammate Caris LeVert said about you: “Very smart guy. I can go to Spencer about anything, and I’ll come away from that conversation with something I’ve never really heard before.”
I really just try to impart stuff that I’ve gone through or knowledge that I have. I really appreciate that quote from Caris. I’m actually kind of taken aback that he said that. That’s really powerful, that’s really kind of him to do. I’ve pretty much been in every situation in terms of the roster..like roster spot 1-15. You know, been on non-guaranteed deals, been a second round pick, been kinda, sorta viewed as a first round pick. The only thing left that I haven’t been able to really experience yet is a being a max player. I’ve been hurt. Just having those range of experiences I can share some of what guys go through so I tell them what’s helped me get through.
Gotta ask about your sneakers because you’re doing something very unique. You're wearing 82 different designs and colorways. Who's idea was this?
So it was actually mine. When I kind of embarked on this journey with my partners to do my own brand, do my own thing, it was very much wanting that full creative control. There was no way I was going to agree to do this if I wasn’t going to have that and be able to do everything that I kind of wanted to do. So when I signed on and they said we’re going to back you whatever it is you decide you want to do 100 percent, now you’re just kind of seeing the fruits of all that labor. I wanted to do 82 different ones and when [the NBA] loosened up the color [restrictions]—originally we were going to do just black and white, just different themes—it got crazy because I said to the artist, hey, anything you can think of, any color, it doesn’t matter. One of the most fun things we’re doing with this is the away games are more personal to the away city, but the games with Brooklyn have more of a personal vibe to myself. We’re just having fun with it, really.
I know it hasn't even been 10 games into the season, but which pair has meant the most?
So far it’s been my foundation just because my family has had a long legacy of just being involved in literacy with the youth and charity in general. To do that and highlight what it’s all going to is huge. Even though my game worn pairs 100 percent proceeds go to charity, my brand in general 25.08 percent of the proceeds are going to charity. Being able to have that freedom to do your own thing, I want it to be me. I want it to be authentic to myself.
Give me an idea of what you’re going to be debuting later in the season. Do you have everything mapped out?
For the most part, out of 75 games to go I probably have 65-70 of them. Me and my best friend plotted out like 100 things that were important to me and when the schedule came out we just matched them to cities.
Do you have any Biggie themed ones you may break out?
Come on, man. Of course. There’s definitely some Biggie themed shoes. There may even be a larger Bad Boy collab, but that’s a little under wraps for now.