LifeAtComplex: A Little Big Baller Teaser

On this episode Lil Tony and Big Tony go off-site to shoot a segment of the Don’t Believe The Hype episode. Both Tony’s test out the Big Baller Brand signature sneakers. Lonzo and Melo Ball would be proud, make sure to stay tuned for that episode. Later on Marcus from the Snapchat team lets us know what he is cooking up with the team.   

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Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe goes Sneaker Shopping at Flight Club in Los Angeles and talks about meeting Michael Jordan, trading NFL tickets for grail sneakers, and why he has the best sneakers in morning sports talk shows. 

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LeBron James Responds to ‘No Place Like Home’ Recruiting Billboard That Just Went Up in Akron

Until LeBron James declares where he's going after this season, the recruiting efforts aren't going to end. In fact, they're just going to ratchet the hell up.

The most recent development in that department was none other than a digital billboard that went up in James' hometown of Akron, imploring him that “There's no place like home.” Since Akron doesn't have an NBA franchise, one would think that it was an effort to get him to stay with the Cavs, especially since Ohio was on the sign. On Friday, James spoke about the new(est) pitch trying to influence where he ends up by saying that stuff like that doesn't affect him because he's been dealing with it since high school.

“I haven't seen it,” James said according to ESPN. “But, like I said before, it's very flattering. It's just, I don't know, it's very humbling. I know my hometown, so, I already know there's no place like Akron, that's for sure. Me just having everything I've done with that city, obviously, but just being a part of that city my whole life … it's just very flattering.”

“It's not that I ignore it,” he added. “I mean, I see it, but I know what's important. I've always been able to keep the main thing the main thing. I see pretty much everything. I have not seen that billboard just yet, but I will. I see and I hear pretty much everything, but I know what's important. I know what keeps me focused. I know what the job is at hand, and that's just how I've always been. It's been like that my whole life.

“I heard talks of me being able to go straight to the NBA and being the No. 1 pick after my junior year in high school. I heard that, but it didn't affect me. There was talks of me leaving St. Vincent-St. Mary and going to Oak Hill [Academy]. There could've been a billboard back then. But it was like, 'No, I'm not doing that. I understand what's important now. What's important now is finishing the school year up and see what happens after the season.' I've always been that way. When I was a kid, I've always just tackled the main thing at the present time and worried about the future when it's upon me.”

 

As relayed by ESPN, the Akron Boards (as nobody calls them) are just the latest billboards trying to steer LeBron to a specific NBA franchise by placing a message in a location he'd only see if he was driving his car down a very particular road. They come after similar billboards were posted in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and probably some other places wondering what they got to do to get some media attention.

The Akron signs were put up by Alison McIntyre Baranek of Stouffer Realty (that's a good plug for her business) and are described in the following manner by ESPN:

Baranek's billboards feature basketball sneakers done up to look like Dorothy's ruby slippers, and the “O” in “home” is an outline of the state of Ohio with James' No. 23 jersey printed in the middle.

ESPN reports that another digital billboard is set to go up next week nearer to LeBron's home in Bath, Ohio. 

However, until the season's over, it sounds as if you won't squeeze jack out of LeBron.

“I don't know if this is even the right time to talk about that,” he said. “Obviously I will attack that after the season. As I stated before, my only focus right now is how we continue to improve the ballclub and put us in the right possible position to compete for a championship.”

Two billboards, though. Damn. Other teams, time to pack it in.

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NFL star Todd Gurley goes Sneaker Shopping with Joe La Puma at Flight Club in Los Angeles, and talks about why he’s a Carmelo Anthony fan and what his favorite sneakers were growing up.

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André 3000, Jon Wexler, Sarah Andelman, and More Discuss the Importance of Collaboration | ComplexCon(versations)

Earlier this week, we unveiled part one of The Art of Collab panel that took place at ComplexCon 2017 which featured Hiroshi Fujiwara talking to Jeff Staple about his legacy in design and collaborating with brands like Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Starbucks. In part two, Staple, Fujiwara​, Sarah Andelman (founder, Colette​), André 3000, and Jon Wexler (Vice President of Global Entertainment and Influencer Marketing, Adidas) come together for a discussion about the importance of collaboration.

Staple asks André about how he decides to collaborate when it comes to music, something longtime fans are aware happens few and far between these days for the legendary ATL rapper. “Sometimes people send you records like, 'Please get on this record.' Like great, great names that I actually want to get on the songs, but I'll try to write to it and it just don't work sometimes,” he explains. “It's not like a factory like Coca-Cola where I can just keeping putting out these things. So it has to feel a certain way.”

The panelists also share their thoughts on the reselling industry, and Wexler talks about Adidas working with big names like Kanye West and Pharrell.

Watch the full conversation above, and keep it locked to Complex as we'll be sharing more ComplexCon(versations) panels featuring LaVar Ball, Virgil Abloh, DeRay Mckesson, Jerry Lorenzo, and more.

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Yujia Hu Turns Migos, Kendrick Lamar, and Air Jordan 1s Into Delicious Sushi Art

Yujia Hu's first love was basketball—he describes the sport as “beautiful”—but when his family opened a sushi restaurant in Milan, Italy, he turned his focus to becoming a sushi chef.

Searching for ways to combine his passion and his familial duties, he created sushi in the likeness of Italian basketball players, and when his posts on social media received worldwide attention, he expanded to NBA players, rappers like Kendrick Lamar and Migos, and even sneakers, like the Air Jordan 1.

“Basketball, sushi, hip-hop… it's different things that are a part of me,” Hu explains. Check out his story and awesome sushi art in the video above.

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Biggs on If Nelly Took the Air Force 1 From Roc-A-Fella: ‘It’s Not a Taking or Jacking Kind of Thing’

The latest episode of Sole Collector's series Full Size Run features Roc-A-Fella co-founder Kareem “Biggs” Burke, who sat down to discuss the label's history with the Air Force 1. Alongside highlighting Kanye's impact on sneaker culture and sharing his thoughts on Drake possibly leaving Jordan Brand for Adidas, Biggs also spoke about whether Nelly took the Air Force 1 from Roc-A-Fella.

At the 6:30 mark in the video, he explained, “I mean, I don't really go into that. A sneaker's love is all over. If someone gravitates towards something and wants to put it in a song, or something like that, more kudos to them. It's not a taking or jacking kind of thing. We don't got equity in Nike. We don't own that sneaker. And what he was talking about at the time didn't have the Roc-A-Fella logo on it.”

As for his thoughts on Drake and Jordan Brand, he said, “A lot of people are big in music, it doesn't mean they're big as a brand. There are a lot of artist[s] that sell records, but that doesn't mean they can sell things outside of that. Doesn't mean that kids wanna dress like them or be like them. There's other guys that sold much more than them, but doesn't mean that if you put a sneaker on them, that they were gonna sell sneakers and clothes.”

Watch the full episode of Full Size Run above.

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Bad Bunny Goes Sneaker Shopping With Complex | Sneaker Shopping

Latin trap artist Bad Bunny goes Sneaker Shopping for the 100th episode in the series with Joe La Puma at Flight Club in Los Angeles and talks about sneaker culture in Puerto Rico, why he doesn't always wear flashy sneakers, and looking up to Daddy Yankee.

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The Sneaker Essentials Program Will Guide You to a Career in Footwear

In an effort to inspire the next generation of creatives who will lead the $55 billion global sneaker industry to continued greatness, Complex is partnering with the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) for a unique education experience, which Kick'n It for a Cause founder Chris “COSeezy” Strachan announced during a sit down with Steph Curry.

Sneaker Essentials is an online education program exploring every possible aspect of the industry, from design to advertising to retail. The Qubed Education-developed program consists of six courses totaling 30 hours. Complex personalities, FIT staffers, and other proven industry veterans (i.e. Nike and Adidas contributors) will lead the learning process.

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“Complex has always been at the forefront of sneaker culture, and we also pride ourselves on being inclusive and opening doors for creative people,” Jack Erwin, Complex's GM of Content, explained. “Sneaker Essentials provides a chance for passionate learners to hear directly from true leaders in the sneaker media industry, including Joe La Puma, Gerald Flores, and Richard Lopez.” Other instructors will include Nice Kicks creative director Nick DePaula, Stephen Curry 30 Inc. Chief Marketing Officer Jeron Smith, Nike's Erin Toraya, and more.

Sarah Mullins, chair of FIT's Accessories Design program, added that Sneaker Essentials was built to “translate that passion for sneakers into real-world knowledge and skills that open doors to meaningful career pathways.” Once a student wraps the program—which is a part of FIT's Center for Continuing and Professional Studies—​they will be awarded a certificate of completion.

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​The inaugural group of Sneaker Essentials students will be admitted in April. In partnership with nonprofit Kick'n It for a Cause, Qubed will be handing out scholarships to select students in disadvantaged situations. More info can be found here.

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Stephen Curry Explains Why He Has the Best Sneaker in the NBA

Since signing with Under Armour back in late 2013, Steph Curry has released a number of signature sneakers. Some have been well received by the public. Others, well, not so much.

But when Complex News caught up with Curry ahead of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, he said that it’s all been a part of the learning process to him. While he’s been aiming to create the perfect sneaker since designing his very first pair with Under Armour, he was also quick to point out that he should have known better since it’s difficult to nail down the design process right away.

“You learn as you go through this industry, the shoe business,” Curry said. “That’s the biggest thing for me. You want to get it right right away, and you want to have the best sneaker in the game your first shot at it. But I think we’ve gotten better at it as every edition has come out.”

Curry also said he likes the direction he’s headed in as far as his sneaker line is concerned. Without giving away too many details, he said he’s already seen his next two signature sneakers up close and thinks he can capitalize on the momentum he’s built with Under Armour thus far by releasing them.

“I’ve seen Curry 5 and Curry 6, so I know where the product’s going from here. Big things,” Curry said. “We’re in a good space right now with how we’ve brought the design process and bringing these kicks to life. The Curry 4 was a step in the right direction. I feel like it’s the best shoe in the game, so I’m trying to keep that going.”

Chris “COSeezy” Strachan was also on hand to talk about Sneaker Essentials, a new online program offered through a partnership between Fashion Institute of Technology and Complex.

You can check out the full interview above.

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