Blogpost: Kicking It Old School – Beats, Hoops and Kicks

Posted by T • March 17, 2021

Posted by T • March 17, 2021

Kicking It Old School – Beats, Hoops and Kicks Through the Ages

For anyone who straddled the better parts of the 1980s, there is a borderline romantic concept of the joyous aspects and contexts of basketball. Cue urban environs, “back to school” jams, boomboxes, rap, rhymes, poetry, emceeing, graffiti and turntabling – hip hop culture was inextricably linked with basketball.

Basketball, not unlike hip hop , was perceived to be more than sports - an expression, refined to become an art form with fashion high on the agenda.

No, I am not necessarily referring to “Shaq Diesel”, i.e. Shaquille O’Neal’s own hip hop album as the highlight of this symbiosis, but for a mainstream audience especially the early 2000s presented a new level of the fusion of both scenes, with streetball tours being televised live on ESPN and Lil Wayne teaming up with Kobe Bryant for a song on a mixtape probably being some of the more prominent endeavours before jamming hip hop songs as warm-up music before basketball events became ubiquitous.

While there are sports brands that over the last three decades have become almost synonymous with basketball culture at large and them riding the bonanza with exclusive endorsement deals, I found Puma’s recently released Black Fives Collection as taking a fresh take on an old school approach.

Teaming up with the Black Fives Foundation - a non-profit whose mission is to research, preserve, showcase, teach and honour the pre-NBA history of African Americans in basketball - is in essence an homage to a period harking back to the first five decades of the twentieth century, which is when the NBA signed its first black players.

Puma’s Black Fives collection is a credible tribute to that era, with the focus firmly put on not merely signifying a fad in a retro-chic manner but honouring the original materials, colours, logos, dyes based on the Black Fives credo, i.e. to “make history now”. In times of BLM, how much more timely could it be?

What makes the Black Fives collection special  with the special edition high tops is that Puma subtly pays tribute to its own past by a reimagining of its trademark silhouette with a cool chenille fabric Form strip, washed rubber sole (however, the washed effect takes it a notch too far as it would have naturally happened within a few rounds of hoops on concrete) and vintage style leather upper with suede overlays. The initiative also see Puma supporting the Black History education reform and the Foundation’s preservation efforts through specifically designed activations, some of which can be checked out online, which makes the Black Fives drop a well-rounded, engaging and stylish initiative.

Now, let’s fast forward to the 1990s, shall we, an era where shoes where infused with technological advancements, some of which established themselves firmly on the fashion front while others thankfully never managed to find a more than temporary audience.

In early 1990, Puma embarked into the realm of lace-less sneakers with its innovative Hoops disc system, only to double down with a Double Disc system not longer after the original launch.

What Puma pioneered was a system of wires and a retractable wheel on either the tongue or heel to tighten the shoes, replacing a standard lacing system entirely.

Sounds technical?

Yup, it even looks that way, resulting in a tad less eye candy than the Black Fives collection, however, it offers a new level of support and comfort with its full length ProFoam mid-sole.

2021 sees Puma revisit basketball not merely with the Black Fives collection but with a revival of their adjustable, lace-less sneakers on the fly, with a disc on the front and one in the back to customize the most flexible and stable fit for your feet.

While the Double Discs look very “space jam-ey” and with some colour combos not having looked out of place on the feet of the respective cartoon characters, having taken the more conservatively coloured black and white version  for a few test runs on the court, they proved to be one of the better experiences in term of support and agility.

---

images courtesy of Puma

T • March 17, 2021

More recent blogposts

Reckless Brewing and Moo Brew’s Gin Boilermaker

Posted by T • July 29, 2021

Thus Let Us Drink Beer – Reckless Brewing and Moo Brew’s Gin Boilermaker   Having honed and refined channelling her alchemy in the creation of craft beers, the quality of which has left an indelible mark on the firmament of Australian craft brews, Reckless Brewing’s co-founder Grace has and continue to contribute to shaping the DNA of one of the … Read more

Beethoven and Wagner vs Nietzsche

Posted by T • July 26, 2021

Beethoven: A life University of California Press   There is no shortage of books dedicated to the life of a composer whose legacy has never ceased to reverberate and impact music at large. Released to commemorate the two hundred fiftieth anniversary of his birth, what sets this biography apart in terms of authority is partly due to the unprecedented access … Read more

Water of Life – Limeburners and Earp Distillery

Posted by T • July 25, 2021

Water of Life – Limeburners and Earp Distillery   Over the last ten years, Australia has firmly established itself on the map of nations that produce quality malt whiskies. Slowly but steadily, rye whiskies created on terra australis have been making a splash on the scene with quite a few distilleries crafting their own incarnations of American style rye whiskey. … Read more

The Formative Years – Rugby and Canterbury

Posted by T • July 24, 2021

The Formative Years – Rugby and Canterbury I’ve covered the mecca that Washington DC proved to be as a hotbed for hardcore and punk as part of this series before, however, missed to shed light onto one of my favourite releases from the 1980s era, i.e. the vitally important split LP of the short-lived bands The Faith and Void.  While … Read more

The Formative Years – Hardcore Classics, pt. 1

Posted by T • July 23, 2021

The Formative Years – Hardcore classics pt. 1   With ZAP magazine playing a pivotal role in promoting and covering everything New York Hardcore related in a pro-active and prominent manner, Europe and specifically Germany have always been prime markets for hardcore emanating from the Big Apple.  The result was that “NYHC” became a veritable label and trademark and almost … Read more

The Formative Years - Ebullition Records

Posted by T • July 22, 2021

The Formative Years - Ebullition Records  The first time I heard about Ebullition Records was when there was talk around the campfire of that a gentleman that was known to me as a Maximum Rock’n’roll / No Answer zine contributor, i.e. Kent McClard, was planning to release a full length of one of my favourite bands from Orange County, California, … Read more

Thus Let Us Drink Beer - Holgate and Six String

Posted by T • July 18, 2021

Thus Let Us Drink Beer - Holgate Brewhouse and Six String Brewing   As we have outlined with our previous coverage of Holgate Brewhouse, over the last twenty years the Victorian brewery has established itself firmly on the forefront of innovative quality producers of ales that honour both the classic styles from the old world and the ever expanding and … Read more

Water of Life – Hellfire / Kilderkin Distilleries

Posted by T • July 15, 2021

Water of Life – Hellfire Distillery / Kilderkin Distillery   If you have followed this series with a modicum of interest and harbour a weak spot for fantastic, artisanal spirits, Tasmania would be doubtlessly be have made it on your to-visit list quite a while ago. Visiting the southernmost state of Australia twice a year, I never cease to discover … Read more

Water of Life – The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Posted by T • July 12, 2021

Water of Life – The Scotch Malt Whisky Society   There is certainly no shortage of whisky clubs and subscription services these days and for anyone remotely into discovering new flavour nuances and variations of their favourite bottlings, joining one can prove to be a viable option. The experience those services offer ranges from basic monthly tasting kits that might … Read more

Water of Life – Milton Rum & Mad Monkey Distillery

Posted by T • July 11, 2021

Water of Life – Milton Rum and Mad Monkey Distillery   Rum has a long and at times chequered history reaching back more than six hundred years to the times dominated by Colonialism, where it did not only serve to make pirates drunk but as a means for trade. Fast forward to the present day and the renaissance that the … Read more