NBA Stars Bradley Beal and D'Angelo Russell Rock New Jerseys and Talk Old Nikes

by Brad Wete

both images c/o Nike

Recently at a dazzling Los Angeles event that featured a performance from Travis Scott, appearances from hoop titans like Kevin Durant and wearable tech news, Nike and the NBA revealed NBA Connect. It’s an app that allows users—presumably avid basketball lovers—anxious to get unprecedented access to their favorites players and teams by tapping their phone to the tag at the bottom of their fresh Nike NBA jersey (the Swoosh squad unveiled alternative “Statement” uniforms for each team in the league as well).

All-Stars and league standouts from all 30 NBA teams attended and once the initial proper presentations were made, a media free-for-all ensued. Depending on popularity, journalists either flocked toward or moseyed in the direction of a choice baller. Flaunt caught up with the Brooklyn Nets’ D’Angelo Russell and the Washington Wizard’s Bradley Beal.

Both are anxious to begin the season in October. Russell is a former Los Angeles Laker who was traded this summer to Brooklyn. And he believes they can make a bit of noise this year in the Eastern Conference.

“We’ve got some undercover guys that can really play that haven't really had the opportunity to showcase it,” he said. “Our training staff, our coaching staff, everybody is really on the same page. So it’s like we can only move forward from this point.”

Beal’s Wizards, unlike many teams this summer, didn’t have many personnel shake-ups. And in his case, no news is good news. They made a solid run last spring and, of course, hope to go further in 2018.

“It’s always cool to have your core together," Beal said. "You’ve got me and John [Wall] and Otto [Porter]; That’s who we consider our core. We’ve got our whole starting five back, man. It’s amazing and you don't see that too often in the league. We improved our bench a lot. That’s something that everyone has been saying is our downfall. But we've been confident in ourselves and we feel that we got the right pieces. Now we’ll give the fans something to look forward to.”

When I switched the convo a bit to sneaker talk, Beal's eye lit up a bit. Asked if he could recall what the first pair of Nikes he got, Brad said he started with what’s now considered to be one of the brand’s classics.

“My first pair of Nikes was probably the Air Max 95s,” he recalled. “My mom got ‘em for me when I was real little. I wore them joints until the soles came off them bad boys and it’s crazy because my grandma still has them. I have a pair of [Air Jordan] Concord 11s--like small baby shoes, the originals hanging, up in my grandma's room, too. It’s crazy because I go back and think, ‘Wow, those are really my kicks.’ It’s crazy how they still come out with the Air Max 95s, they were my first pair that I could remember that were legit cool.”

Russell revealed that he was a huge Air Jordan head as a child, but has since grown out of the collector habit. Though he does have his eyes set on getting several pairs of the Nike’s 10-sneaker collaboration with designer Virgil Abloh. “They’re dope,” D’Angelo said. “I think Virgil is doing a great job collab’ing. I’m a fan.” The pair, as well as the rest of the league essentially kicked off the 2017-'18 season today (Sept. 25). Their Mondays began with Media Day for their respective teams and training camp begins in hours. Time to rejoice, NBA fans.