Chicago-born Ibn Jasper wants to make sure today’s kids know Dr. J. That would be Julius Erving, the first basketball player to dunk from the foul line, known for his free-flowing play as well as for wearing Converse’s Pro Leather basketball shoe.
First released in 1976, the Pro Leather debuted as the lightest and most durable performance basketball shoe on the market. Highlighted by the star/chevron logo, the shoe was worn in collegiate and pro competition by many of the game’s best — though most notably by Erving — before being discontinued in 1983. Subsequent reissues have cemented the silhouette’s stature in hoop-shoe canon, and given it standing in fashion and skate circles alike.
“This particular collaboration means a lot to me since I was born in the ’70s and grew up in the ’80s watching all of the great NBA players like Dr.J.,” says Jasper. “The aesthetic is based on a photo of Dr. J. walking into the arena with an all-white outfit. He looks like he just stepped off of the runway. I thought to myself: ‘How can I distill this image and vibe into a collection?’”
The statuesque white serves a secondary purpose too. Jasper’s intent is to channel Erving’s sophisticated style into a trophy that pays homage to the high-flying player’s individual legacy and broad impact on the game. Roman numeral embossing adds to this vibe, granting historical weight to a contemporary design accentuated by a zippered tongue.
The collection releases September 26.