Two things about Filipinos: we love basketball and there are a lot of us in Toronto.
So when Houston Rockets Rookie Jalen Green, the NBA’s highest-drafted Asian-American and the third Filipino player to reach the league, came to town to face the Raptors earlier this month adidas Canada knew they had to do something special. To welcome Green to 6ix, the Three Stripes hosted a Filipino Night Market at Harriet’s rooftop lounge, featuring activations from a host of Filipino-Canadian businesses, including Ruru Baked, aunt’s supplyand Paralumane Flora.
Among the highlights of the evening, which included plenty of scrumptious lechon and a fleeting appearance from James Harden, was a special pair of Crazy BYW that adidas gave Green, customized by a Canadian sneaker alchemist Jack the Ripper. The kicks pay homage to Green’s Pinoy heritage, with the colors of the Philippine flag incorporated throughout. Additionally, they feature a JG logo, the number 4 (Jalen’s new number for next season), and the 559 area code for Fresno, Calif., where the rookie spent most of his childhood.
“After hearing about the idea of creating a shoe that celebrates Jalen’s Filipino heritage, I immediately started collecting as much information as I could about the people and the culture,” Jack The Ripper told Complex. Canada about the creation of the sneaker. “While I learned a lot, what I struggled with was not knowing the parts of his heritage that Jalen specifically related to. That problem ended up being the solution. I decided that the idea had to be very simplistic and that Jalen could find its own meaning in the design, and the flag of the Philippines became that icon.
The sneaker boasts a predominantly white upper, matching its Boost heel, while the blue, red and yellow portions serve as canvases for Jalen’s personal touches. The Philippine flag’s signature sun and stars also make an appearance on the lace bottom.
Of course, Jack also made sure to imbue a bit of himself into the shoe. “With the soles of the donors having black on them, a color that is not on the Philippine flag, I took this opportunity to incorporate one of my inspirations, Piet Mondrian.” he says. “With his use of the same primary colors found on the flag, I took his design language to kind of wrap all the colored panels in a black outline. This helped tie the black on the midsole together and gave the shoe a playful and exciting look, things that I related to Jalen’s style of play.
Jack says he made sure the shoe included all the same features as the original Crazy BYW, including reinforced lockdown, heel and medial padding and open vamp window for breathability. , to help ensure that Green remains bucket in the field.
From what we can tell, Green seemed to like the shoes. After being briefly interviewed in front of the crowd by Makeway co-founder Abby Albino (one thing to remember: his favorite Filipino dish is chicken adobo), he announced that adidas and him were donating $10,000 to the Tribe of the Rise, a Toronto-based nonprofit dedicated to celebrating and empowering the next generation of young Filipino-Canadians. A class act, that kid. Masai, take note.