For most guys, building a fantasy basketball team doesn’t get much further than winning a few hundred bucks in a local league. But designer Riccardo Tisci’s fantasy team just landed him a very real project.
As a part of Nike and the NBA’s global partnership, which sees the athletic apparel brand design special uniforms for all of 30 the league’s teams, the company asked Tisci to work on an extra-special project. As the latest step in the Italian designer’s ongoing partnership with the sportswear giant (since 2014, he’s reworked styles like the Dunk, the Air Force 1, and more), he has created an apparel collection made for the off-court moments of his fantasy team, dubbed the Victorious Minotaurs.
"In the 90s, basketball players became kind of like rock stars," he said, explaining how he picked the team’s winning name. "But now, they are more than rock stars. They're superhuman — representative of historic mythology."
But because even superhumans get days off, the range comes packed with a varsity jacket, track pants, a smart oxford shirt, tees, hats and the kind of things that weren't meant to be worn on a basketball court. There’s even a line-up of pins that you can affix to the different pieces in the offering. The central item, though, is a re-imagined Air Force 1 sneaker, seen above, which features the collection’s logo on the toe box and a red white and blue colorway. The whole project releases stateside on October 12 and October 21 globally.
The gear has a thread of authenticity running through it and for good reason: Tisci grew up playing basketball on the streets of Taranto, Italy, his hometown. And as he made his name at Givenchy, athletes, and basketballers in particular, flocked to his wares. (Dwyane Wade wore one of Tisci’s tuxedos to the ESPYs last year; Amar'e Stoudemire once told The New York Times that Tisci was among his top three favorite designers) The result is a set of designs that respect the sport while offering smart, aesthetic updates. And for the fashion set, it’s a bit of a holdover until the designer announces his next post, having left Givenchy at the beginning of this year.
While we’re waiting, take a look at some of the coolest pieces from the collection below.