By Eriko dela Cruz and Karlo Lovenia
They couldn’t have chosen a more perfect color.
Draped in red with hits of gold, the LeBron 17 TITAN is meant to be a product that captures the Filipino’s love for the sport of basketball. But more than love, the collaboration is meant to be a celebration of game-changers. One from the state of Ohio and the other from the basketball-crazy Philippines.
LeBron James was recognized as a once-in-a-generation talent the moment he entered the league. With the perfect blend of size, speed, and skill, he changed the landscape of the NBA the moment he was picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA Draft. He was indeed the Chosen One, in levels even our expectations couldn’t predict.
After a solid rookie season which saw him average 20-5-5, he followed this up by bringing the Cavaliers to the playoffs during his sophomore year. It truly did look like we had someone capable of chasing the ghost of Michael Jordan. He was a game-changer whose effect wasn’t just felt on the court, but also off of it.
His first signature shoe, the Air Zoom Generation, changed the sneaker game in the Philippines. This was the first signature shoe in the country that was relatively easy to get. Before the Zoom Generations, people relied on their relatives in the United States, tracing their feet on bond paper so they could send their correct size. It was inconvenient, but it was a small price to pay to be the most japorms dude in your inner circle.
Now that inconvenience didn’t have to exist anymore because LeBron was changing the game. While he was building his name as the league’s next big thing in Cleveland, he was also helping grow the sneaker culture in the Pearl of the Orient. Little did we know that a group of passionate hoopers would take advantage of this boom and provide Filipino basketball a brand new sneaker experience.
As the digital age went full steam ahead, advertisements migrated online. It meant more players entering the market. One such store entered the market in 2010, TITAN 22 owned by PBA Legend Jeffrey Cariaso. Before them, people had to rely on a very limited selection of stores to carry the kicks that they wanted. Multi-brand stores were limited to sporting goods shops, but they were (and still are really) very limited in comparison to sporting goods stores in the United States. It was TITAN that filled the void, carrying the most sought-after shoes and basketball gear in the market. Much like LeBron James did for basketball, TITAN has changed the culture of sneakers in the country.
It is only fitting that we celebrate TITAN’s 10th year in the Philippines with the LeBron 17 Low TITAN. An athlete like LeBron perfectly captures what TITAN is all about. Prideful in their journey towards greatness, but passionate in evolving out of their comfort zone as competition rises up to challenge the throne.
Even with three championships in hand, LeBron continues to find ways to become better. This entire season, we’ve seen the pure athlete show us a polished game in the low post, and intelligence that’s unmatched. We’re going to see more of that come the NBA restart in the bubble.
Even with multiple shops around the Philippines already open, TITAN continues to expand its reach to the Filipino basketball fan. The brand recently unveiled an ON-DEMAND service as more and more consumers shift to digital, while they’ve had an app on-hand for iOS and Android to make sneaker shopping much more convenient. We’ll definitely see more of that as we usher in the new normal.
There’s a lot of uncertainty for both LeBron and TITAN as the future is filled with plenty of challenges. But to doubt them would be foolish.
Today, we celebrate two entities that have changed the game for the better. Two brands while thousands of miles apart, are tied together by two statements: Para sa Kadakilaan. Strive for Greatness.
They couldn’t have chosen a more perfect color. Color red. The color of passion. The color of love.
A passion for getting better.
For Love of the Game. Always.