We spotted this recent interview with legendary baller Patrick Ewing over at Jay-Z’s lifeandtimes.com. The 7-foot former star of the New York Knicks, speaks on the 80s and 90s fashion phenomenon which was his Patrick Ewing sneaker line, how it came about and this year’s relaunch – the European launch of all four colours of the 33 HI (pictured above) will be November 9 2012…
Ewing Athletics took the world by storm the first time round, with everybody and their mama wanting to get themselves a pair, even in places where US basketball wasn’t exactly a mainstream sport, such as here in the UK!
I wasn’t lucky enough to have a pair myself, as coming from a working class family with three other siblings meant I couldn’t always jump on every fashion trend going (as much as I
cried tried), but plenty of my mates at school had them, so I guess I lived vicariously through them! Haha! I recently found out Massachusetts-born Patrick, who played for the Knicks from 1985-2000 (he also played for the Seattle Supersonics and Orlando Magic), was the first professional basketball star to have his own shoe company, which is a major deal! Read the lifeandtimes.com interview below…
THE LEGACY AND RETURN OF EWING ATHLETICS
In 1989, as the sneaker industry skyrocketed through the stratosphere due to the popularity of Air Jordans, New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing was getting paid nearly $1 million a year by Adidas. Despite the very handsome salary, P.E. left the brand. Under the guidance of his agent, David Falk, Ewing became a pioneer of sorts, launching the first signature sneaker brand that was majority-owned by a professional athlete. By 1990, the company was grossing approximately $100 million and as Ewing’s popularity with the Knicks soared, so did his company. Ewing Athletics released more than 20 models through 1996, before the company faced internal challenges that forced Ewing and his partners to shut down.
Last month, the former Knicks’ player and NBA Hall of Famer relaunched the cult-classic 33 Hi Retro shoe model to 33 stores nationwide. On the heels of the retro sneaker hitting the European market for the holiday season, Life +Times caught up with No. 33 himself, along with Falk and David Goldberg, the newly anointed President of Ewing Athletics, to discuss the brand’s reintroduction, the ‘80s original flavors and Knicks versus Nets.
Life + Times: The popularity of retro sneakers is perhaps at an all-time high. How excited are you to reintroduce Ewing Athletics to the market place?
Patrick Ewing: It’s great! I can’t wait for it to hit the market. And hopefully we’ll do great. With the way every retro-shoe is coming out, being rereleased and doing well…I want to get my niche.
L+T: It’s been a long time coming. How were you able to get the brand up and running again?
Ewing: Well, it took them a while to convince me to bring it back. They finally were able to convince me and I teamed up with a group of people [David Goldberg and Mike Packer] in New York, and we’re going to make it happen. They’ve been waiting a long time to do it– and it’s finally here!
David Goldberg: It was an opportunity that was kind of presented to me three years ago. It’s been a long time trying to convince Patrick and David Falk that it was the right time and we were the right people to do it with. As a kid, I grew up in New York. I was a huge Knicks fan and this was one of my favorite brands. I’ve been a huge sneakerhead since the ‘80s. I actually brought Patrick all of the old shoes to see when we were first met and he got a kick out of it, because he doesn’t have a single pair of the old sneakers. I don’t know what he did with it, but he gets a kick out of seeing them each time. It was a once-and-a-lifetime-type thing.