Having paid tribute to basketball legend God Shammgod and his iconic crossover once before, Puma is further telling the baller’s story with a second collection.
The new range, which arrives Aug. 21, features footwear and apparel including jackets, pants, T-shirts and shorts. Shammgod’s journey through basketball, from as early as playing in the 1995 McDonald’s All-American Game alongside NBA legends Kevin Garnett and Vince Carter, is told throughout the line.
Shammgod told FN that it’s more important now than ever before to share his story, as well as the legacy of his iconic crossover, much of which began more than two decades ago in a pre-social media era.
“People now say I was ahead of my time because when I was playing 25 years ago, I played the same way a point guard would play now, whether its Kyrie [Irving] or Chris Paul,” Shammgod said. “If we had Instagram and stuff like that, it would be totally different because everything would have been seen up close, everything would have seen first-hand like it is today with kids.”
But storytelling alone isn’t what makes this range special. Shammgod, who grew up in New York’s style-driven borough of Harlem and became friends with fashion-focused rap megastars Cam’Ron and Ma$e, said aesthetics were equally as important.
“I moved from Brooklyn to Harlem, which was a whole different world. You had the Apollo with all of these flashy cars, and you go to the games at Rucker Park. At one point, I would rather play at Rucker than Madison Square Garden not only because of the games, but because of the way people played, the kind of cars they came to the game in or the clothes they wore to the game. You automatically knew who,” Shammgod said. “When you grow up in that mindset, you have no doubt that you could do fashion because you’ve seen it your whole life.”
He continued, “When Puma blessed me with this opportunity, I already knew how I wanted it to look, I knew what I wanted it to stand for, I knew what the people that believed me wanted to see from me.”
To develop this lineup of footwear and apparel, Shammgod said he offered Puma a rundown of his history paying basketball, resulting in more profound storytelling. The story is perhaps best told through the lone sneaker in the range, the Puma Legacy Shammgod.
“The colors of the shoe are the colors of my high school, and the concrete on the side of the shoe, everybody in New York — what we consider the concrete jungle — grew up playing basketball, so I wanted that to be the part of the shoe,” Shammgod told FN. “The crossover is inside the shoe, how to do it step by step. I’ve got 1997 on the back of it from the NCAA tournament, which is when most of the world first saw it, and I have GS for my namesake on the front and Shammgod going down the stripes. And the stitching on the front of the shoe shows the way the move goes, with the zigzag on the front and on the side.”
Puma and Shammgod teamed up on this same court-ready basketball shoe once before, executed primarily in white, which arrived at retail last year and came with a $100 price tag. Although the new collection has a focus on style, the baller said he would not deviate from the performance.
“My thing will always be basketball first and then everything else will come behind that,” Shammgod said. “I’m still kind of old school so I kept the high-top shoes because I like to go out there and break people’s ankles, and when you’re on defense you want to have ankle support. And I believe you can still make three-quarter shoes look fashionable.”
He continued, “You look fly, you play fly. You look good, you play good.”