While we’ve known for a while that New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson loved anime, things are about to get a little more serious with the release of an upcoming pair of sneakers.
Nike have announced that Williamson, who has his own signature shoe with the company (the Zion 1), will soon be lending his name as part of a collaboration to an anime-themed pair of sneakers from a different line, with a pair of Air Jordan 37s to be released in a “Rasengan” colourway.
A rasengan is the name of the “spinning ball of chakra formed and held in the palm of the user’s hand” in Naruto, a series Williamson loves so much he spoke about it in depth during an interview with GQ last year, calling it his “north star”:
Williamson talks about Naruto with the same reverence with which other NBA players talk about the Bible—it brings comfort and clarity in equal parts. Over the course of this past year—an unusually tumultuous one in his otherwise starry career—Naruto was his north star.
The shoe is full of little nods to the series, as Sneaker Freaker point out:
Featuring spiky yellow on the tongues (an allusion to Naruto’s signature hairstyle), the Air Jordan 37 includes monochromatic serene blue uppers. Claw marks strike the ankle pads, while the tongues are emblazoned with metallic silver – inspired by Naruto’s forehead armour. Naruto’s catchphrase だってばよ! (‘believe it!’) is inscribed on both tongues, and the Rasengan chakra orbs adorn the insoles.
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The Rasengan Zion x Naruto x Jordan 37s will be releasing on February 20, and being a general release model of Jordan might actually be fairly easy to get your hands on. I’d expect Zion will also be wearing them on the court around the same time as well.