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KNOWLEDGE FOR THE ENTREPRENEUR IN YOU
FASHION

How Prince’s Love Of Basketball Inspired Athletic Wear

Remembering the style of the one and only Prince

GREY Journal

Prince wasn’t just a style icon, he was a trendsetter. From his perfectly tailored clothes to his hair and custom-designed jewelry, Prince was very much ahead of the curve in creating a unique look that not only embraced all aspects of his identity, every button, ear clip and zipper was deliberate and designed by him in collaboration with those who made the actual items.

Prince wearing gold outfit with gold shoes.
Prince wearing gold outfit with gold high heel shoes. Photo courtesy of WireImage

When I was 9 years old, not only did my fascination with Prince begin, but so did my love of his shoes. The man had amazing shoes that were designed specifically for him. Most men are not secure enough in their masculinity to get away with Prince’s shoe choices. I know that as a woman, his style in that department has influenced my own choices and the proof is in the collection of shoes I have amassed over the years. But if low-cut, high heeled booties aren’t your thing, you may want to check out the athletic shoe department.

Prince, who died three years ago this Easter Sunday, was an avid basketball fan. It is fitting that companies like Nike and Reebok have created sneakers and athletic gear paying tribute to him. Worn by his hometown NBA team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Spike Lee and others, here are some of my favorites:

Fire: Minnesota Timberwolves “City Edition,” Prince-Inspired Jerseys

Man wearing Prince Wolves jersey and holding basketball
Man wearing Prince-inspired Wolves jersey. Photo courtesy of NBA

In November, 2018, the Minnesota Timberwolves debuted their new “City Edition” Prince-inspired jerseys. The jersey’s are in Prince’s signature color, purple, with “Wolves” written in the font style used by Prince in the Purple Rain era. Timberwolves forward, Robert Covington, described the new jerseys as, “Fire. Fire. We just did the shoot yesterday and I’m looking forward to being there tonight,” he said. “That’s a legend. To be able to come out with a jersey, like I said, fire.”

Purple Prince Wolves sneakers
Purple Prince Wolves sneakers. Photo courtesy of Star Tribune

Timberwolves #32, Karl-Anthony Towns, known for his eclectic themed shoes on the court that reflect his own uniques style, is a standout in custom designed Nikes bearing the Wolves’ new logo, but also Prince’s picture.

Award-winning: Spike Lee’s Custom-made Prince Air Jordans

Spike Lee Prince Air Jordans.
Spike Lee Prince Air Jordans. Photo courtesy of Paint or Thread
Spike Lee Prince Air Jordans
Spike Lee Prince Air Jordans. Photo courtesy of Paint or Thread

On June 7, 2016, on what would have been Prince’s 58th birthday, 2019 Oscar winner Spike Lee hosted a dance party that brought almost all of Brooklyn and about half of the Bronx. Lee, dressed in a Prince T-shirt wore these custom-made Air Jordans that paid homage to two of Prince’s best selling albums, “Purple Rain” and “Sign ‘O The Times”

“Fury”: Reebok’s Summer 2011 Tribute to Prince and the 80s

Purple Prince Reebok shoes
Purple Prince Reebok shoes. Photo courtesy of Sneaker News.
Purple Prince Reebok shoes
Purple Prince Reebok shoes. Photo courtesy of Sneaker News.

In 2010, Reebok announced it would make a series of RBK Pumps with designs inspired by 80s film. Prince joined actors like Harrison Ford with a line made in his honor. There were several styles, some that used the Purple Rain font, another had a paisley trim, but all were purple. It is unclear, however, whether or not Reebok consulted with Prince on this effort.

Of all the Prince-inspired shoes, my all-time favorites are the ones made by fans and I’d like to see them. Tweet me your custom-made Prince shoes @AishaStaggers. I’d like to see your tattoo’s, too!

RELATED: Why Antoni Porowski Is Our Style Icon

What are your favorite iconic Prince moments? Let us know down in the comments!

Aisha K. Staggers
Aisha K. Staggers is a writer of culture, politics, music and Prince. She is the featured weekly guest on The Dr Vibe Show's "Staggers' State of Things," as a political analyst and social commentator. Aisha is the creator and co-host of the internationally syndicated "All Our Own Show," a weekly talk program for Generation X Women of Color. She is the creator of the "Soul Since '74" blog on Medium and will launch the syndicated blog and podcast series, "For Colored Girls," this spring.

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