Last month, Kanye West took to Instagram to officially unveil the first ever adidas YEEZY Basketball sneaker. Since then, the silhouette has been met with mixed reviews from the sneaker and basketball communities alike. Unfortunately, the opinions of sneaker aficionados and adidas Basketball signees may not matter with the NBA leaning towards banning the first rendition of sneaker due to one specific detail.
No, the NBA is not attempting to shun Kanye’s creative endeavors or punish the artist for his unpopular political views and statements. Matter of fact, the sneaker does pass the NBA’s general equipment standards so far as player safety and with the NBA lifting their sneaker colorway restrictions, the aesthetic of the silhouette is suitable for on-court play. So, why would the NBA ban what could possibly be this year’s most popular basketball sneaker to hit the court? Three words, 3M reflective material, according to Nick DePaula of ESPN.
The heel of the sneaker features a domineering reflective heel panel, shoelace eyelets, and striped quarter panel design found on both the medial and lateral sides of the silhouette. Unfortunately, the 3M reflective material can possibly effect cameras distracting viewers from play as well as officials and players on the court.
According to Christopher Arena, the NBA’s Vice President of Identity, Outfitting, and Equipment, athletic apparel companies regularly submit footwear for the first half of the season by early August, with sneakers scheduled to be worn post the NBA All-Star break are submitted for approval by December. There’s no word on if Kanye presented his adidas YEEZY Basketball to the league’s equipment division on time but, since when has the super producer turned designer ever played by the rules?
This isn’t the first time that the NBA has banned sneakers from the professional hardwood. Back in 1985, the David Stern-led league banned Michael Jordan from wearing his first signature Nike silhouette which later only helped Nike and Michael Jordan gain traction in the sneaker industry. The banning of the Air Jordan I by the NBA backfired in the league’s face single-handedly sparking the birth of sneaker culture. Now, the in the once young footwear company in Nike now has a net worth value of $35 billion and is the leading sports apparel company in the world.
Jordan Brand representative, Carmelo Anthony, most recently had an issue with the NBA’s equipment division in regards to his Air Jordan M10 signature silhouette which featured a metallic chrome heel plate. Initially, Melo was not allowed to wear the performance sneakers while playing for the New York Knicks, forcing Jordan Brand to update the footwear to suit the league’s standards. It wasn’t long before a new Carmelo Anthony x Air Jordan M10 rendition surfaced with a matte paint finish replacing the sneaker’s original chrome detailing.
If the NBA decides to ban Kanye West’s first version of the adidas YEEZY Basketball sneaker, there’s no doubt that the creative will provide the league with an updated rendering in time for the kicks to be laced up by non-signature adidas Basketball signees like Brandon Ingram, Donovan Mitchell, and Nick Young for the second half of the season.