NBA

Grizzlies star Ja Morant to debut Nike Ja 1’s in Christmas game

Grizzlies star Ja Morant to debut Nike Ja 1’s in Christmas game
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Memphis Grizzlies All-Star point guard Ja Morant will debut his first signature shoe with Nike when his team appears in its first Christmas Day game in franchise history.

« Just being able to have a signature shoe with Nike, not a lot of guys have been able to achieve that, » Morant said. « It’s definitely a big milestone for me and something that I’ll never forget. »

The Grizzlies face the Golden State Warriors on both ABC and ESPN at 8 p.m. ET. Morant will be lacing up his namesake sneaker for the first time in a bright blue colorway, with gold, pink, lime green and red accents.

On Christmas Eve, he teased the beginning by posting a present from his daughter Kaari, wrapped in a repeat pattern featuring his new signature logo. His daughter’s name is also stamped on the inner half of the shoe.

While the design and development process of a signature shoe usually takes around 18-24 months, Morant will debut the Nike Ja 1 early, with the shoe not expected to hit retail until later in 2023. Several colorways are slated for Spring and Summer 2023 on retailer launch calendars. The shoe is expected to be priced at $110.

« I feel like the most important thing was telling a story, » Morant said. « Obviously, finding ways to have my fans and people who support me have access to Ja and see what goes on in my life and what I’m about. Combining with Nike to put all of that stuff into a shoe was crazy. »

Morant will become just the 23rd NBA athlete in league history to receive his own signature sneaker with Nike. Paul George in 2017 and Kyrie Irving in 2014 were the last two to launch their own shoe. The brand has touted that Morant is « Nike Basketball’s first Gen Z signature athlete, » and recently featured the Grizzlies star in its 50th anniversary campaign while looking toward the future of the company.

« [Ja Morant] is a revolutionary player who quickly became a global star with his unmatched athleticism and exciting style of play, » said Scott Munson, Nike VP of Global Men’s Basketball. « 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. »

The sneaker features a low-top silhouette, with a mesh and leather upper and reinforced support panel along the forefoot. His signature « JA » logo can be found along the tongue tab. The stylized font is placed above a chevron, representing the 23-year-old’s rise as an overlooked player from South Carolina and a family mantra of the Morants.

« As a kid, whenever I wondered if I was good enough, my parents would say: ‘You’re beneath no one,' » he said of the motto now tattooed on his left arm. « And that’s how I want everyone to feel when they wear the Ja 1 — that they’re beneath no one. »

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