Sabrina Ionescu on the Nike Sabrina 1s and Chasing Goals

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This story seems in KICKS 26. Store now.

Nike Basketball had a drought. They’d gone simply over 15 years with out having a WNBA signature sneaker. It was long gone time {that a} lady was positioned beneath her personal highlight. The powers-that-be on the Swoosh lastly referred to as on New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu.

After authoring one of many best faculty basketball careers ever at Oregon, Ionescu has left her mark of greatness on New York. She solely performed in three video games as a rookie due to an ankle harm that required surgical procedure. Within the three full seasons she’s performed since then, she’s been an All-Star twice and has registered an entire stat line of 15.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 6.1 apg in 87 mixed video games.

The Nike Sabrina 1 was unveiled at 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake Metropolis. Flanked by Deepa Ramprasad, Nike Footwear Product Director of Basketball, and Ben Nethongkome, Senior Designer of Nike Efficiency Basketball Footwear, Ionescu had a smile rattling close to tattooed to her face on the unveiling the place the trio lifted the curtain on the creation technique of the Sabrina 1. They emphasised that it was created for the “Dream Seekers” of the world, all of the individuals whose ambitions outweigh their fears.

KICKS caught up with Ionescu and Ramprasad to get into the whole lot you might want to know concerning the Sabrina 1.


KICKS: How does this all really feel? To be the primary lady in over 15 years to have a Nike signature?

IONESCU: It’s a dream come true. It’s one thing that I’d’ve by no means considered rising up watching all these athletes have signature footwear and now having the ability to showcase that to the world and simply proceed to permit all these younger women, all these younger boys, to simply dream of turning into no matter it’s they wanna do. With the ability to try this whereas additionally listening to my story and possibly if there’s one or two items that they’ll relate to and discover that helps give them confidence, typically that’s all you want. That’s actually what I’m enthusiastic about is simply persevering with to supply alternative and that’s additionally why we talked about our worth level being what it was as a result of we simply need everybody to have the ability to put on the shoe and simply proceed to dream.

KICKS: Even with the whole lot you’ve already achieved, you didn’t anticipate to get your individual sneaker? This was nonetheless only a dream?

IONESCU: A minimum of how I believe and the way I course of issues, I simply do the work and purchase into the method, belief the method and know that the whole lot will are available in time. Clearly it was one thing that, you understand, I had been in talks with Phil [Knight] and we had talked about after I was coming into the League and signing with Nike, nevertheless it’s all the time a blessing, regardless of should you assume you deserve it or anticipate it [or] you don’t. For me, it was by no means an expectation. It was extra simply an honor to have the ability to be a signature athlete. Now that I’m right here, I wanna do the whole lot that I can to simply present for different generations to return.

KICKS: Deepa, Sabrina may be very well-known for her competitiveness. How did that present up throughout your work together with her on the sneaker?

RAMPRASAD: It wasn’t competitiveness a lot as being so exact and so laser-focused on, like, what did we wish to accomplish? Being actually constant on that. I believe that basically speaks to clearly Sabrina’s recreation, nevertheless it additionally is mostly a testomony to the partnership and the collaboration that we’ve all had collectively.

KICKS: Sabrina, how did you discover out you have been getting a signature sneaker?

IONESCU: I used to be simply in a gathering and I had left. It was after apply. I used to be really with Jason [Goldstein], who’s one in all my brokers at WME. He had this video for me and requested if we may sit down to observe it. I used to be like, Certain…? Don’t know why you may’t present me as we’re strolling the streets of New York Metropolis. However we went to a restaurant close by after the assembly I used to be in and he simply pulled out this video. It was bizarre as a result of it was all these Nike reps, these individuals at Nike that I used to be like, Why are they in a video proper now? I used to be wanting and listening and everybody was saying congratulations, congratulations and I used to be simply ready for like…I mentioned, What occurred? What did I do? I believed one thing had occurred. After which it was like, You’re gonna be the following signature athlete. I began crying. I actually didn’t know methods to really feel on the time. I believe this shoe is gonna open doorways and gonna accomplish issues that I can’t even see and put into phrases proper now. It’s all the time very surreal. It was a day I’ll always remember.

KICKS: How did the video come to life, Deepa?

RAMPRASAD: It was the peak of COVID after we began the preparation work on the signature course of and product. We might clearly have cherished to have the ability to have a good time and have that second collectively in individual, however we simply couldn’t. So it was actually a dialog about, How will we have a good time and provides her her flowers that she so deserves from afar? So the video was born. I don’t have to see it once more. [Laughs] However I’m comfortable that it exists. That was a very particular reminiscence for positive.


Ionescu has damaged out 5 colorways of the 1 up to now this summer season. She submitted the very best capturing efficiency of All-Star Weekend historical past—NBA or WNBA—in a red-based, orange-accented 1 colorway, after which she scored 18 factors, dished out 8 helpers and pulled down 6 boards in a distinct version of the 1, this time in white with pink detailing.

The Sabrina 1 is house to full-length Nike React with a top-loaded Zoom Air unit within the forefoot. The embroidery patterns on the higher are impressed by Ionescu’s household heritage in Romania. And Nike provides that the 1 has a “dotted ‘i’ that wraps across the high and backside outsole of the shoe. The wraparound element ends in a dotted ‘i’ on the heel.”





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