Ben Osborne, editor in chief of SLAM Magazine, has created a new book about sneaker culture titled Slam Kicks: Basketball Sneakers that Changed the Game, published by Universe. The 208-page paperback book features 250 color illustrations of some of the most important sneakers to ever touch the hardwood, from Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars and Nike Air Jordan 1s, to Puma Clydes and the Nike Air Max CB2. The 33 pairs are organized chronologically for the most part, with essays by Scoop Jackson, Lang Whitaker, John Brilliant, and Complex's own Russ Bengtson included in the mix.
Slam Kicks isn't encyclopedic in scope, but it does provide extensive information about the nearly three dozen pairs that fill its pages, and the players and teams that made them important. Yes, Michael Jordan is well represented, and Kobe, Penny, and Lebron make appearances, but it's the inclusion of people like Charles Barkley, Dee Brown, Rick Barry, George Gervin, Walt Frazier, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar that makes this book legit. It doesn't pander to the young collector, and it isn't written for the old "in my day" basketball head either. The photos aren't overly stylized, most of the shoes depicted are worn to shit, and the layout isn't really made for quick picture flipping. Slam Kicks is a serious book for people who really care to know the history, have a passion for the sport, and can appreciate the stories attached to great pairs of shoes. Check out the book trailer below: