PHOTOS BY VINICIUS MARTIN

“A lot has happened since our last photo shoot, it’s been a year now, right? But since we talked for the first time, that was when I started working for the company that I’m in today, we’ve been going to Miami a lot because of it.

Back then we were just starting our the São Paulo neighborhoods Instagram accounts, they grew quite a lot and today they’re really big. It’s a project we really dedicate most part of our day because it’s so cool. Another big change for me is that I’ve stopped eating meat.”

What’s your relationship with this Adidas The Kobe II?

When I went to get these sneakers today was like opening a garage, I think it’s because it was designed by the same guys that did the Audi TT, way back then. When I opened the garage the “car” scratched, broken, full of dust, and today I was polishing it with a cloth, just like a real car, I “turned it on” to see if it was working (laughs). 

This sneaker was so ahead of its time, actually, it’s still is, it’s super conceptual. People look at it and go “what are those?”. I think that’s what Adidas was going for, something really different. But then that question comes up: why did Kobe leave Adidas for Nike? Maybe because his line should have been a bit more fashion, something that would sell like the Jordans – because there are some sneakers that are not for playing, they’re only for casual use. This sneaker should have focussed more on fashion. 

People said that this shoe lost its function – there’s form but its function got left aside – everyone said this was a terrible sneaker to play in, even Kobe didn’t wear them.

Yes, and this turned out to be quite provoking, I think that’s a bit why Kobe left for Nike – you have the president of a company, that’s concerned for you as an athlete, which is his real job, rather than just your publicity. Publicity is a secondary thing, and it only exists because he’s a superstar on the court. He won 3 times with the number 8 while being sponsored by Adidas. When he left for Nike, he was a more mature Kobe, he was a different athlete, with a different mindset. 

I had another Kobe shoe, a low top one with snakeskin texture. And I wore them a lot to play basketball – but they got really old, and as you know I don’t throw them away, I left them out there somewhere, and someone took them.

When this sneaker dropped, back in 2003, it was a complete “failure” because a lot of people didn’t like them and criticized them a lot. But you bought them and kept them till today, so what do you like about them so much?

I bought them at an outlet store here in Brazil… what happened was that when I was a teenager was I really liked basketball, and this was too expensive. So after I became an adult and I was able to get the stuff I wanted. I always was I big fan of basketball, so I bought them because I liked them and I could get them. It was hard to find something like this. Nowadays you can find a lot of basketball sneakers, but still not the good ones, there’s still a lot of crap here in Brazil.

But when I was at the outlet and I saw this sneaker I thought “damn, this shoe is just sitting here, no one wants them” and it was a Kobe shoe, that’s crazy! There would never be another opportunity to buy a shoe like this… I thought that its design was a bit too futuristic, I even thought  I would use them a lot, but it turned out that I actually wore them quite a bit, I played with them, I wore them to go out, but then I stopped using them because people were too judgmental. And then I stopped using them because of that, I didn’t like playing in them because they were not even that comfortable, because they were heavy, and because people didn’t get them. So I just parked them literally, and they were just put away all this time.

But I still think they’re really cool, it’s a shame that it’s broken and dried up, but maybe I’ll glue them back together and start wearing them again. Maybe they’re more interesting because they’re beat up.

Adidas The Kobe II
Owner: @junojo
Bought: 2004
📸  @viniciuspontomartin