Taking inspiration from his daughter, playstyle, and more, Ja Morant is looking to inspire future Gen Z athletes and the next generation with his Nike Ja 1.
As many of Nike Basketball’s roster enter the twilight of their careers, like LeBron James (Nike LeBron 20) and Kevin Durant (set to debut the Nike KD 16 in 2023), a new generation of talent is ready to step up to the plate and energize the label - especially now that Kyrie Irving has left The Swoosh. That’s where Ja Morant comes in as we previously broke the news the young superstar would be the newest member of Nike Basketball to receive a signature silhouette the Nike Ja 1. Now on Christmas Day 2022, Ja Morant and Nike have officially unveiled the silhouette and it will receive its first on-court moment this same day.
For the last two years, Ja and the design team at Nike have been cooking up the silhouette to make sure that the model would fit Morant’s explosive playstyle while also representing the next generation of talent given that the Grizzlies guard is the first Gen Z player to have their own signature silhouette. The entire Swoosh family has been ready for this moment for some time as Scott Munson, Nike VP of Global Men’s Basketball stated “NIKE, Inc. is honored to partner with Ja Morant to serve the future of athletes and sport. Morant, Nike Basketball’s first Gen Z signature athlete, is a revolutionary player who quickly became a global star with his unmatched athleticism and exciting style of play. His authentic personality, deep love for his community and family and joy for the game make him very special — on and off the court. We are thrilled to add Morant to our signature roster and can’t wait for everyone to learn more about his first shoe, the Nike Ja 1.”
As for the sneaker itself, no tech specs have been revealed though we can determine a few things based on branding details and the first images shared. Across most of the upper sits a breathable mesh while leather overlays wrap around the toe all the way back to the heel and connect along the medial side. Near the eyestays you’ll find another patch of leather to help reinforce the upper and a set of flat laces that work up toward the Nike Ja logo, designed to represent “the verticality, speed and sharpness of Morant’s game, and his ability to rise above all obstacles.” For its Nike branding, a large Swoosh logo wraps around the heel and connects to the medial side with this pictured colorway receiving a gradient pattern that transitions from green to purple. Just below this on the heel counter is a black leather overlay with “12 AM” text in an iridescent finish, possibly nodding to the moments in his childhood when he would stay up late training to achieve his goals. Underfoot sits a two-tone muslin and pink Zoom Air cushioned midsole paired with a pink grippy rubber outsole.
Ja has even given quotes regarding some special details on the sneaker, how he has made it to this moment, and what the sneaker means to him. “I've wanted to talk about this for a long time, and now I can finally announce I have my own Nike signature shoe - the Nike Ja 1. It's a shoe for underdogs who have the dawg in them, kicks for anyone who has ever been underrated or overlooked, who's been told they're too small, or their dreams too big,” said Ja. Continuing, “Now that I'm a father, l've been thinking a lot about the next generation. It's why my daughter's name, Kaari, is stamped on the side of my shoe. This generation of kids have their own dreams, dreams that others might be telling them are too lofty.
The Nike Ja 1 will begin to release in two limited colorways in Spring 2023 through Nike and select retailers. These first images showcase a color scheme very similar to the upcoming “Cobalt Bliss,” though at this time we cannot confirm that it is this exact colorway. The pair will retail for $110 in men’s sizing with select colorways coming in GS sizing as well as a planned GS exclusive. To get a look on how the sneaker will perform on the court, tune into the Memphis Grizzlies game tonight as Ja will rock the sneakers during the game. For more updates regarding the Nike Ja 1 and more in the sneaker and streetwear world, keep it locked to our Twitter and the Sole Retriever mobile app.
Nike Ja 1 "Day 1"
Images via Yankee Kicks
Images via k9_itsiant
Images via Nike