The OG sneakerhead Daniel Fontes participated in the seventeenth edition of the BBB. He told us about his experience in the house and how difficult was his mission to choose only 3 pairs of sneakers from his collection to take to the show. Now for his interview with Kickstory, he chose the sneaker he fell in love with 23 years ago, the legendary Jordan 11 “Concord”. A sneaker surrounded by striking stories and historical events, it was first seen on the feet of Michael Jordan for Game 1 of the 95 conference semifinals between the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic.
“For those who don’t know me my name is Dan Fontes, I’m ex-participant of 2017 Big Brother Brasil. And Men, those who know me from way back, no I’m about my passion for sneakers and that’s exactly why I’m here today with you guys, to talk about that passion. Thank God this scene is growing here in Brazil, and it adds, even more, each year, and I think this is dope because when I started collecting back in the 90s, it was really rare to find another collector, it was so distant. Today globalization makes it way easier, I have access to things that I didn’t have when I was young.”
I WENT INTO CONFINEMENT IN JANUARY 2017 AND I BOUGHT THE SNEAKER IN DECEMBER, AND I WAS JUST WAITING TO USE THEM, BECAUSE IF I GOT INTO THE HOUSE I WANTED TO COME IN WEARING THIS SNEAKER,I WANTED THE FIRST TIME I WORE THEM TO BE MY FIRST STEPS IN THE BBB HOUSE. AND THAT’S WHAT I DID.
Let’s start with how was your experience in Big Brother what shoes did you take to the show?
When they arrived at my house to “kidnap” me and to tell me I was BBB, they gave me 20 minutes to get my stuff. I went straight for my dopest kicks, but they didn’t allow most of them because of the branding on the shoes. So In the End I brought and Air Jordan 16 – I went into confinement in January 2017 and I bought the sneaker in December, and I was just waiting to use them, because if I got into the house I wanted to come in wearing this sneaker,I wanted the first time I wore them to be my first steps in the BBB house. And that’s what I did. I also brought my Air Jordan 3 Cyber Monday and a grey and lime green Kobe 8.
The only reason I didn’t bring more was that the bag they gave me was too small. All my sneakers are like size 13 and they take a lot of space so it was either shoes or clothes. Every time I tried to talk about sneakers or even show them, inside the house, Globo who would take the camera away from me, no way they were advertising some other brand on their Channel. There was this one thing I used to do a lot so I could show them,I would take my sneakers over to a tank, get my brush and just clean them, every single crease, I would hydrate them with cream and once I was finished and we would just hold them up and as far as them. Obviously, I only did that just to draw attention to me and actually worked.
It was curious because on the last party before I left the show, the theme was ” ghetto party”,that’s when I realized I was leaving the show for real, because I had already mentioned I missed eating some pizza, Cola, hamburgers, and fries, basically only junk food and they had all of that at the party. Besides that, when the time came for us to get our outfits I was waiting in the Blue Room when Mamão came back and said: “Dandan there’s a really dope sneaker with your outfit I don’t know what it’s called but I thought it was dope”. when I got there I looked and it was all red Jordan Melo M13! I went completely nuts, I jumped up and down the bed, I hugged and kissed them. Some people in the house even ask me why was I so happy I got those sneakers, so I told them the whole story about Carmelo, that he was signed by Jordan brand and how he was really good and then they made a signature line just for him.
It was a huge satisfaction to put on another sneaker because I could no longer stand wearing the ones I was wearing, it was always the same clothes with the same sneakers (laughs). when I left the show people asked me what I missed the most, and I said ” my sneakers, and my wardrobe, I wanted to put on something different I couldn’t stand wearing the same clothes and the same sneakers anymore (laughs).
When exactly did you start collecting sneakers?
I started my collection in 1996. I would buy one here one over there, I would work the entire month so I can get that Grill that’s how it went. My passion grew and today I’m well-known in the collector’s scene. At one point I had 319 years; today I probably have around 150.
Do you remember when was your first contact with sneakers?
I come from skateboarding, I skated from 86 to 91 – at the time the only public skate parks around or the ones in São Bernardo and São Caetano – so we would leave Ferraz de Vasconcelos and go all the way to the ABC just to skate. But I’ve always been more of a street guy. And the sneakers back then in 87, 88 where Qix, which years later I found out we’re just Van’s knock-offs. So much passion for sneakers started because of skateboarding.
Back in the 90s, the TV company Band started airing NBA games, and that’s when basketball came into my life. It was a boom and everyone started playing and I got interested. at that time I hit a growth spurt 30 cm and when I would skateboard everyone would make fun of me and say ” damn look at that giant twig riding his board!” and you know how teenagers are right? Everything is trama. So I dropped the skateboard and slowly started playing basketball at school. The passion was so big and you know, with basketball comes sneakers. And that’s where it starts you said guys playing in the NBA wearing cool sneakers and you want to have those same sneakers.
What was the first basketball shoe you bought?
In 1990, when they started to import shoes, my first basketball sneaker was a Nike Delta Force. I would skateboard with them because it didn’t have a skate shoe and Nikes for cheaper than skate shoes. The second shoe I bought was Bo Jackson’s Air Trainer SC 2, I did and install payment so I was paying for the shoe for two years, it’s so crazy.
You do your own Customs on your sneakers, right?
Yes. The thing is I lost a lot of sneakers because of hydrolysis, and I will get pissed because I didn’t understand why that would happen, do you actually need to wear your sneakers for them to last longer. As the years went by I developed the technique of “sole swapping” which is basically switching an old outsole for a new one. I usually don’t do this for others because the price of a new outsole is basically the price of a good sneaker. All materials I use for these customs are from here and they’re not the best quality, but it’s what we got here, and it’s not worth bringing from the US because of the price of the American dollar.there’s also that Brazilian thing where the dude who Spain thinks it needs to be perfect, has to look factory made, but it’s a very manual process way it’s going to look like the mass production ones. That’s why I don’t do Customs for other people, only for me.
When you were already into basketball, what is the biggest difference from the sneakers scene from the 90s the scene that we have today?
Today everything is hype, I think it’s cool the scene is getting stronger but there’s a lot of posers around you know? That don’t have the essence or the soul for the culture, even because I was a part of this entire generation and lived through the transformation. The ones that are just getting here now, think everything is so cool but they don’t understand what had to go down, what we went through, for it to get to this level. There’s a lot of people that buy a ton of sneakers and don’t really know what they’re buying and don’t care about the knowledge behind it.
When I was younger I used to by slam magazines on a newspaper stand at Paulista Avenue. It was an American Magazine and the price was absurd, but I would be anyway. only did it have articles about basketball – which I didn’t understand anything because it was all in English – there was a sneaker session. They would have pictures of all the new releases and the sneakers the athletes were wearing on the court. And that was my way of knowing what was happening.
EVERYBODY JUST WANTS THESE SNEAKERS SO THEY CAN BE BETTER THAN THE OTHER ONE, THAT’S NOT WHY I WANT MY SNEAKERS, I BUY THEM BECAUSE I WASN’T ABLE TO HAVE THEM WHEN I WAS YOUNG.
To you, what does it mean to be a sneakerhead?
The OG sneakerhead is that like to call it, the other “Jurassic” ones like me, they don’t need 500 pairs of sneakers to understand or be a part of sneaker culture. What is a sneakerhead? It’s to know the stories of sneakers – cuz each pair has its own story, something happened for that shoe to come out the way it did, so it could sell out and become hype. And why does it become hype? why are there quick-strike sneakers? Understanding that kind of stuff is what makes you a sneakerhead, it’s snowing how to differentiate stuff. What I see a lot happening in the culture these days is a lot of people calling themselves sneakerheads without knowing what that means and they only do it to ride this wave.
For example, I absolutely hate, hate, with all the forces of the universe, the Galaxy, these Goddamn frog looking Adidas sneakers – the Yeezys! Kanye thinks she’s the shit, but he doesn’t know anything, I’m not saying 5000 bucks where is Meeker that this dude drew. When you look active sneaker from above they look like a big old frog ready to jump. They are too ugly man! Even those are Yeezys he did with Nike, there’s a dude selling a pair for 27000 bucks! You’re going to buy them just to watch them hydrolysate, I mean the sneaker is like 10 years old man, you’re going to spend all that money just because this dude supposedly drew this sneaker? And let’s be real is sneaker is goddamn ugly, he took the outsole from the Jordan 3 and distract from the Bo Jackson’s, you a little something over there. Everybody just wants these sneakers so they can be better than the other one, that’s not why I want my sneakers, I buy them because I wasn’t able to have them when I was young.
SO THE AIR JORDAN 11 IS REALLY SPECIAL TO ME BECAUSE OF ITS HISTORY, I TOOK A LONG TIME TO GET THEM. AFTER EXACTLY 23 YEARS AFTER ITS ORIGINAL RELEASE WITH THE EXACT SAME SPECIFICATIONS AS THE PROTOTYPE AND WITH THE SAME AIR JORDAN 10 BOX.
And why out of your entire collection, did you pick this Air Jordan 11 Concord?
The story behind this sneaker is that in 1995, Jordan comes back from retirement. He didn’t have sneaker set for that season, so he asked Tinker Hatfield – the designer that made most of the Air Jordans – for a sneaker that he could use on the court, but he could also wear with a tuxedo. So tanker designed and made a prototype, is sneaker didn’t even have a box yet so he took the box from the Jordan 10, and he took them to Jordan in the locker room because he needed his approval so he could produce the final product. Jordan like them so much that he put them on and played a game with them. She was fined because at the time there was a rule in the NBA that players had to wear sneakers with the same colors of the uniforms – that in this case had to be red and black in the sneaker is white black with purple on the outsole. Not to mention the sneaker was the Prototype there worst things that needed to be tweaked and finished.
After being fined, Jordan wore a pair of Nike Air flight one Penny Hardaway on the following playoff game against Orlando, so Tinker could finish his shoe.
For the next game, Tinker brought back a finished pair with the 45 on the back. And during a game, Nick Anderson steals a ball from Michael Jordan and eliminates the Chicago Bulls from the playoffs for the first time in 6 years. Jordan was pissed, he always had this competitive spirit.
As he was feeling like the number 45 was giving him bad luck, Jordan had the number 23 brought down from the rafters so he could play with his old number. So there is a game where Michael is wearing number 23 on his jersey and 45 on his sneakers (laughs). So for the 96 season, Nike makes the Air Jordan 11 with the number 23 on the back. She also wore the elevens in the black colorway which was nicknamed the Space Jam colorway because of the movie, and also the bred colorway with the red outsole. I fell in love with the sneakers but I didn’t have access to them, I didn’t have the money and even if I did I didn’t have anyone to bring them from abroad for me. And I always wanted to have the sneakers because I think they look so good.
So the Air Jordan 11 is really special to me because of its history, I took a long time to get them. After exactly 23 years after its original release with the exact same specifications as the Prototype and with the same Air Jordan 10 box. This is the story of my grill and what it represents to me, it’s the sneaker that from 96 till now I wanted the most. This year the bread is making its 24th anniversary and they’re going to re-release it again and it’s another one of my grills, I’m definitely copping a pair.
Aside from colorways what Air Jordan silhouette is your favorite?
To me, the best ones are the Jordan 3s, the 4s, the 5s in the 11. I like all Jordans from 1 to 22 and I hope someday I have all of them.