Sneaker culture and the NBA go together like a, well, one-footed sneaker.

The Dallas Mavericks recently hosted the 2nd Annual Sneakeasy Experience, and sneakerheads – mostly of the Mavericks fan variety – showed up in droves. The Sneakeasy Experience, an event still in its infancy, featured sneakers, obviously, from local companies that cater to sneaker culture, and also featured a new addition to this event in full growth: a sneaker discussion board.

mike taddow

“This is our second year hosting this event, and the response from sneakerhead Mavs fans has been phenomenal,” said Dallas Mavericks director of corporate communications Collin Kim.

As Kim spoke to MavsMoneyball, that sentiment was punctuated by what was happening directly behind us. A very long line of sneakerheads wait patiently to enter the Michelob ULTRA Club in the main lobby.

The experience was split into two parts: a pre-game event where sneakerheads had the opportunity to browse and visit several stores adjacent to sneaker culture, Center, Nollege and Sneaker Politics. Attendees also had a unique opportunity to feast their eyes on a curated Sneaker Museum, a wall of rare sneakers selected from notable NBA games. The diamond at the center of this curated collection was undoubtedly game-worn sneakers owned by future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki.

mike taddow

mike taddow

Accentuating the various sneaker culture sneakers and apparel available, the experience also featured several artworks, created by Dallas artists, that were available for purchase.

One of the highlights of this pre-game experience took place outside, at the entrance to the event space. A 360° auto-rotate photo platform has been set up with members of the Mavs media team ready to help sneakerheads do what all sneakerheads love to do: show off their kicks. Without a doubt, this was a highlight of the Sneakeasy event for many engaged attendees.

mike taddow

mike taddow

mike taddow

The second part of the Sneakeasy experience was the exclusive post-game sneaker chat panel, available to the first 100 to check into the experience. The panel, moderated by former Nice Kicks editor George Kiel, included industry stalwarts as well as newcomers.

The panel:

  • Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson is coming off a quiet but efficient victory of 9 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists against the Portland Trailblazers.
  • Dallas Mavericks assistant general manager Michael Finley, one of the first Jordan brand athletes.
  • Dallas Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison with more than two decades of Nike experience.
  • DJ Poizon Ivy, DJ Mavericks and a certified sneakerhead.
  • Channing Beumer, founder of CNK Daily, a Dallas-based sneaker publishing site, style ideas and sneaker education site with a focus on women.

mike taddow

Moderator Kiel had shortlisted discussion topics and questions for specific panel members with great insight coming from Nico Harrison from his years of experience with Nike. Michael Finley spoke about his experiences as an OG Jordan Brand athlete.

One of the funniest moments came from Jalen Brunson. When asked what was one of his earliest memories of being a sneakerhead, Brunson knocked the house down with his answer.

“Remember how Nike had the Nike ID where you could personalize shoes? Well, I thought that meant you had to identify the shoes, so I spent a lot of time identifying and calling out different sneakers!”

Responding to a question from the moderator about their respective favorite sneakers, Brunson was quick to note his affection for the electric lime-green Nike Zoom Kobe 6 Proto, commonly referred to as the “Grinches.” Brunson has donned these sneakers for virtually every game this season.

Ever the consummate businessman, Michael Finley’s response drew a salvo of shouts from the attentive crowd. “Well, the Luka (Jordan) 1s are my favorite at the moment,” Finley said with a smirk.

While the men brought their perspective and experiences on NBA-related sneaker culture, arguably the best part of this sneaker panel discussion was when the two women on the panel made some great points. from their respective points of view as female sneakerheads.

DJ Poizon Ivy, speaking about the current state of sneaker culture, made a point of saying that women can and should be part of the culture. For the most part, the sneaker giants have started to listen to this point. Adidas has its partnership with Beyonce, and Nike has been at the forefront of signing and showcasing female athletes with frontline advertising spots.

CNK Daily founder Channing Beumer pointed out that while sneaker culture has seen a lot of negativity in recent years (bots, anyone?), the culture is also creating jobs that simply didn’t exist there. even 5 years old. For an economy trying to rebound, this is a salient and highly relevant point.

The Mavericks hit a home run with the annual Sneakeasy Experience. In just his second year, club representatives were quick to point out how amazed they were at the huge turnout and fan response.

The Experience gives sneakerhead fans a place to talk about sneakers, support local businesses and artists, and learn about aspects of the culture they may not have known before.

Above all, this event gave fans who share an affinity for sneaker culture the opportunity to connect. In a world that still regrows cobwebs after a few years of extreme isolation, this is a most welcome thing.