adidas Abdul-Jabbar

1971

Okay, it's the sticker rather than the box. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's adidas involvement was something that the brand was keen to capitalize on. If you've ever had the opportunity to dig through any of those increasingly endangered old-world sports store stockrooms or were fortunate enough to browse upstairs at San Fran's 3-stripe temple, Harputs, the Jabbar, Abdul-Jabbar and Skyhook boxes stood out among the glorious stacks of blue. Between the declarations of made in West Germany, made in Hungary or made in France, Kareem's face would periodically appear, smiling among the clinical, Teutonic iconics. Then we'd be crestfallen on opening a box that still had pristine leather and suede on the uppers, but a tongue that had inexplicably turned into a sticky, cracked mess during thirty years of stockroom slumber. Damn those chemical compounds. Don't sleep on the jumping Jabbar imagery either that sometimes replaced the face, preempting the Jumpman by a few years. This imagery still looks amazing, and shouts to Foot Patrol for putting then-store manager Wes on the box for their adidas Campus release in 2007, turning an anonymous adidas shoe into something a little different.