How Spencer Dinwiddie created his own footwear path

There are 16 active NBA players with their own signature sneaker, and three of them call Brooklyn home. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have high-profile Nike lines, with regular releases of new models and colorways that drive millions of dollars in sales. Players around the NBA and at every level of basketball wear some version of the KDs or Kyries.

Then there’s Spencer Dinwiddie.

Two years ago, with no sneaker company clamoring to sign him, the former second-round pick decided to create his own signature shoe from scratch. He then used the proceeds from auctioning off his own game-worn sneakers last season to help pay for the college educations of two students.

“I used to draw shoes as a kid,” Dinwiddie said. “It led me down the path of being creative and just wanting to do something new and have a little fun with it.”

A conversation with his father in January 2017 served as the starting point for what turned into Dinwiddie’s unique footwear path.

“I had a drawing I was working on,” Dinwiddie said. “I said, ‘What if I did this?'”

“You can do anything you want to do,” encouraged his father, Malcolm.

“He told me the same thing that he’s always told me in life,” Dinwiddie said. “He’s said that to me since I was born, whether I wanted to be president, or I wanted to be in NASA. Although I think they have a height requirement, so that was maybe kind of a lie on his part.”

The 6-foot-5 guard — yes, one inch too tall for NASA astronauts — began working on sketches, concepts and updates, betting on himself. He partnered with Project Dream, a boutique production agency that helped provide the manufacturing infrastructure and factory access he was looking for.

Dinwiddie likes to point out that he had the idea before the spring 2017 launch of Big Baller Brand. The similarly self-created signature shoe company dreamed up by Lavar Ball and built around Lonzo Ball infamously introduced its first basketball shoe at a $495 price point, but its future is now marred in uncertainty. Lonzo recently joked that his ZO2 prototypes “just like, exploded” once he took them to the court during his Summer League debut.

For Dinwiddie — who takes pride in his creative business endeavors — creating his own shoe was never about the money.

“I wanted to push the limits of performance,” he said.

“I’ve always loved shoes in general, and then I always love trying to boost my performance in whatever way possible,” he continued. “With basketball being my passion, the most critical piece of equipment we have is shoes … so I wanted to make a performance statement with it.”

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