The Nike Ja 1
After first being unveiled back on Christmas Day 2022, we are now seeing some more colorways of the Nike Ja 1. Each colorway has different details that point to the different aspects of Morant's life. Ja is the new kid on the Nike block and he is filling the hole that is left from Kyrie's departure. Seeing as the signature lineup consists of a 38 year old LeBron James, a 34 year old Kevin Durant and Giannis who is closing in on 30 now, it is nice to see a fresh young face getting in on the action. In the middle of his 4th season Ja is only 23 years old and Nike is touting him as the first Gen Z star. The youth seem to be taking notice.
The Ja 1 was designed by Ben Nethongkome, who is the Senior Designer for Nike. He was also the primary designer of the Kyrie line from the Kyrie 4 on, which would explain all of the comparisons to a Kyrie Irving shoe. These feature a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot and zonal cushioning throughout the rest of the shoe, a familiar set up that a lot of players like. The low cut silhouette and his "J A" logo obviously takes influence from the Kobe line.
Nike unveiled five colorways of the Ja , two of which are PE's, in a press event at the FedEx Forum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies.
There was 2 versions of the Day One. The first has a redish upper with a black swoosh that fades into a goldish color. The second is a PE that comes with a Light Blue base to the upper, a yellow swoosh that blends into a redish color around the heel of the shoe. They both have a clear outsole with a hand written note thanking all those people who have been there to support him since Day One.
The "Chimney" colorway has a purple upper with a teal accents in a smoke like pattern highlight the upper with the matching teal on the midsole. The black swoosh nicely contrasts the purple background. Ja's quote “We climb up the chimney, we ain’t ducking no smoke.” is on the heel of the shoe in his handwriting.
The Ja 1 Trivia is another PE. They have a purple upper with a red swoosh and midsole, They take inspiration from Ja's love of board games and feature questions about Ja to test your knowledge of the superstar.
The Scratch is my personal favorite out of them all. They take inspiration from the OG Grizzlies uniforms. The turquoise base to the upper has black claw marks on the forefoot and is contrasted by a black swoosh that has white claw marks and red accents. They have a clean white midsole with black claw marks and a black outsole.
There has been a lot of mixed opinions on the Ja 1 and justifiably so. I can completely understand why people would feel that they are plain and basic. To me that basic look is the perfect blank canvas and I hope Nike puts them on Nike By You.
There still is no official release date for the Ja 1 but be on the look out this spring and retail will be a reasonable $110.
You can contact the author, Andy Morrison (aka Biggie Smores), on any of his social media pages: @Biggie_Smores