The jacket was designed by iconic leather designer Jeff Hamilton.
The jacket retailed for $7,000, but Hamilton sold it to Drake for $3,000. Drake posted the jacket on Instagram and the photo got over 2 million likes and gained Jeff Hamilton 50,000 new Instagram followers.
Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Hamilton told me that the move with Drake was one of his best business decisions that he ever made.
Check out a snippet from our Q&A on the Scoop B Radio Podcast about Drake, Shaq, the Chicago Bulls and more:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Did Kobe or Shaq have their hand in designing their Championship jackets?
Jeff Hamilton: Not at all. Not on nothing they didn’t know. But at the time, I created content that as World Champions like you’re ruling the world. If you buy it on the same day you’ll want to wear it. So I wanted to present it to them in the locker room. They had on a t-shirt and a grey cap, you know saying the championship. First it was with Michael and Scottie. I started making the whole jackets for the whole team and for the Lakers as well. The design that they’re getting should be around like their championship rings right there, you don’t have to wait so long as you do with your championship ring. You have a jacket to commemorate like a badge of honor and that’s where we’re getting all of that. When I did that Chicago Bulls jacket, it was the most successful jacket that I did that I sold in my lifetime. Do you know in 100-degree weather I ended up selling 2000 jackets? $2,000 a jacket, that’s half a million dollars in three months. I thought that people were buying the jackets because they were cold to protect themselves. They wanted to wear it because of Michael [Jordan]. Then Kobe and Shaq wore the jackets; Duncan and Robinson wore the jackets, that’s really where we made the difference.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Jeff, I’ll tell you what; one jacket that’s non-Lakers or Bulls that I absolutely love was the 2003 NBA Championship jacket that you made for the San Antonio Spurs. When I look at it, it reminds me of a zebra mixed with a cheese danish that I would get from the corner store growing up. Where did you get the idea for that? How’d you get the concept?
Jeff Hamilton: I try to get a feeling, an element about things that are phases that the teams use. I don’t want to just use the same basic colors. Like the Bulls are red, white and black, the Lakers are purple and gold. I want to incorporate all of the colors. You think of buildings and the sky with adding these elements in the logos, then I would incorporate new material. In 1997, in the Championships when Michael was starting up with shoes on that jacket I used that letter as far as on my trends and different things that I was using. I was doing it just to be relating to the time of that era.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Yeah man and the thing about is, I really feel like you make these jackets. You get these jackets down to their personalities and to a T. Such is the case when I look at Drake’s jacket back in 2016 when you did a farewell Kobe jacket and how it encapsulated not just Kobe, but it had Toronto Raptors colors in it because the All-Star game was in Toronto.
Jeff Hamilton: He wanted the name, Farewell Mamba. Basically, I didn’t talk to him directly, but I ended up working with a few co-workers. Even though I didn’t have an NBA license, I had to get approval to get it done and that jacket was apart of the deal. I cut him a deal. Usually I sell those jackets for $7,000, but I said $3,000 and asked him to expose the jacket to Instagram. Ultimately we went way over and got like 2 million likes and within a weekend, my Instagram jumped up to 50,000 followers. So that was a good business move. I got to do selective interviews from that.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Jeff how hard is it to get licensing?
Jeff Hamilton: It depends on the design right now, since I’ve been out of it. It’s challenging pretty much because now you have other players; Fanatics and Mitchell & Ness and all of those people. They do a fantastic job doing what they do. I get bombarded every day with messages of: ‘you need to bring back your jacket to the market space.’ I really don’t think I’ve seen a championship jacket look like this before like the Bulls or the square on the Lakers. Nobodys doing things like that. My jackets are pieces of art. My jackets were all one size. I personally signed every single jacket, every jacket had limited edition on the inside. There is a date of when the jacket was made on the inside and that’s the reason why those jackets have been going up in value. I made a product that’s bigger than a jacket or simply a coat
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Help me understand something. Nascar racing is a cash cow. Were you making Nascar jackets as well?
Jeff Hamilton: That was my biggest thing. I’d been with the NBA and I love the NBA more than any other sport. But I started back in 1992 or ’93 making jackets for the drivers. The top part of the jackets. One of my greatest achievements and pride that I had was from the sport was that it was so redneckish. Really, a widespread 300,000 fans southern rednecks and they wore those jackets proudly. I was able to turn their jackets into an urban icon in 1996-97 because of my relationship with tailors in New York, Philly and Boston. I was able to take these jackets out to the poor people in the streets. The urban culture embraced that jacket and everybody in the streets were wearing my M&M’s jacket and my Dale Earnhardt Jr., the rest of those. I can take a sport like Nascar and relate it to the urban culture. People were actually in the street wearing them.