ESPN+ is loaded with context that looks beyond the final scores of your favorite sports and into all of the details that bring the full product together. SneakerCenter focuses on all of those “sneakerheads” in and around the world of sports, as well as the history of sneakers in sports.
The latest episode features NBA rookie phenom Zion Williamson talking about his favorite shoes and what it was like for him to sign the biggest NBA rookie footwear deal ever. We also hear from NBA all-star Kemba Walker, iconic dancer Misty Copeland and more.
As always, SneakerCenter opens with a tease of the featured guest on this week’s show. In this case it was a look at Williamson at the Jordan 34 launch party in Harlem, doing what he does best: dunking.
We then go into a segment featuring Misty Copeland, which takes a look at her background and career. The segment doesn’t have a ton to do with sneakers, which makes it feel as though it doesn’t really belong here, but it is certainly interesting to hear from someone who is not a professional basketball or football player, but has a deal with Under Armour alongside athletes like Stephen Curry and Tom Brady. She does also mention she would like to see Under Armour give her a signature shoe, which would be interesting to see as well.
The next segment is a quick one called “Sneaker Speak,” which is a simple and fun chat with a professional athlete about their experiences with sneakers. This episode catches up with Kemba Walker who talks about his first sneakers, his worst sneakers and his all-time favorites. This is such a simple and brief segment but it allows sneakerheads to hear from their favorite athletes and connect with them through their experiences. I would like to see more of this segment in future episodes of SneakerCenter.
Next up is one of my favorite segments, “1 of 1,” which takes a look at a well known sneaker customizer and allows them to show off some of their work. In this case, we see Kickstradomis as he prepares some customized sneakers for Williamson. This particular edition of this segment seemed to me to be a bit overdramatized, but it’s still entertaining to see these incredibly talented people do their work.
The next segment is the return of “You Must Learn.” This week’s edition takes a look at a school made exclusively for aspiring sneaker designers, Pensole Academy. This is not one of my favorite segments on a weekly basis because it typically points out some sort of institution that is based around sneakers and fails to do much more than point out that this place exists. This week though, the segment was at least mildly interesting because of how unique this school is and we do get a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at the students doing their thing.
Next up was another segment that is routinely one of my least favorites: “Live @ Da BBQ.” This week’s segment is a bit more interesting because it focuses on a full court 21 tournament, a concept I found intriguing as someone who grew up playing basketball. Unfortunately though, the segment focuses on the people who organize and play in the tournament and never explains how the game works. It even features an NBA player explaining that he’s played half court 21 and found the full court concept interesting, but still never explains how it works. Seems like a missed opportunity.
Finally, we get back to Willamson who sits down to talk about his aforementioned experiences. Williamson is the perfect guest for a show like this right now because not only is he a sneakerhead but he’s also right in the middle of the spotlight as we get closer and closer to his NBA debut. This was an interesting interview that provided a look at his decision making when choosing his shoe sponsorship.
Overall, this third episode of SneakerCenter was mostly entertaining and seems to be a slight improvement on previous episodes. I would like to see more discussions with athletes and hear about their sneaker experiences and maybe a little less nondescript basketball tournaments and shoe museums. This episode is a step in the right direction.
SneakerCenter is available now on ESPN+. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and can cancel at any time.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”