Those still skeptical of why Carmelo Anthony stayed in New York need to find the black doors plastered with an iconic white logo on West 32nd Street. Jordan Brand's Terminal 23 has become a well-regarded spot for NBA players to scrimmage during the offseason, and Monday it was transformed into a neon-lit Palace Of Melo.
No press conference was needed to mark the release of the Jordan Melo M11, the 11th model named after the line's most tenured athlete. Instead, to unveil his boldest and most intimate design to date Anthony walked a small group of reporters through the Terminal hallways, sharing stories of life in Denver, Syracuse, Baltimore and New York's Red Hook projects.
Talk of the lightweight M11 was colored by memories of falling in love with the game in high school, getting scolded by teachers for drawing sneakers on desks and confusion over where to get his braids fixed as a Nuggets rookie.
Jordan Brand's latest version of the Melo is its most breathable and uses the brand's FlightPlate technology, allowing for a more explosive liftoff and padded landing. An updated foam heel counter was birthed from Anthony's interest in Mystique's suit from X-Men, and the additional ankle support is only logical for a player seeing increasingly more time at the 3 position.
The M11 comes in four color schemes:
- A gray and pink "Concrete Island" that juxtaposes grit and flair.
- A blue, pink and orange "Red Hook Sunset" that is just as current as it is nostalgic.
- A red, black and white "Jordan Family."
- An untitled black and gold design that will find an official name through fan suggestions on social media.
ThePostGame sat down with Carmelo Anthony to discuss how the M11 came about, his eye for sneaker design and what's next for him with Jordan Brand.
ThePostGame: You've been with Jordan from the moment you left Syracuse. Why does the fit still work a decade later?
CARMELO ANTHONY: It's just loyalty. We've grown together, I feel like. I came to Jordan at a very pivotal time, when they were still trying to figure out what the brand wanted to stand for. I helped create that buzz and the message of legacy that still exists. To be here talking about 10, 11 years in with them, I've seen the brand go from there to here. And it's still growing.
TPG: The brand was so dominant in the '80s and '90s, but you signed on as the league was going through a radical change in fashion and aesthetic.
ANTHONY: I had a following with me. I had kids from the city that were looking forward to me coming back home and telling them what's what. If I returned home saying, "This is what's poppin', these are the shoes to rock," they would follow that. It was a cult, and I was able to take all of that and help modernize what was going on here.
TPG: How much of this M11 is about that communal spirit?
ANTHONY: This is not just about me having a shoe. It's not the quote-unquote Melo shoe. It's about feeling included in what's going on. In this day and age, I wanted to give people a chance to enter my world or name a shoe. It's an opportunity to get more in depth with me, but not in an ordinary way. I felt that this was the best time to tell my story.
TPG: Why now?
ANTHONY: The story that I'm able to tell now, if I told it a couple of years ago, it wouldn't have made sense.
TPG: Re-signing in New York obviously gives the narrative a new layer.
TPG: What really distinguishes the M11 from previous models?
ANTHONY: We went super light with this one, as light as we could without messing with the material or the technology. It's really comfortable. I took a very active role in designing this one as well.
TPG: What's your style as a designer summed up in one word?
ANTHONY: [Laughs] I'd have to say "creative."
TPG: What colors do you want to implement in the future? This edition obviously has the most dramatic palette.
ANTHONY: We're going to continue to go this route. When I was in Denver, I kept going back to the white and powder blue because those shoes were only for the Denver market. Now there's a bigger stage for the product. We can mess around with different colors, as well as different fabrics.
TPG Post Game: What shoes did you rock when you were growing up?
ANTHONY: I never had Jordans! Didn't have a pair until my senior year of high school. I used to love the Scottie Pippens, the Pennys, the Kevin Johnson Converses. Loved the Larry Johnson Grandmamas. But yeah I never had Jordans. Crazy.
TPG: Are you interested in working with other forms of clothing?
ANTHONY: We're working on breaking those walls down for me. I want to be innovative and bring something new to whatever it may be.