Anyone that’s tracked sneaker trends the last 10-15 years has surely noticed some significant shifts in the game. One of the most prevalent changes has been the rise of non-athlete influencers. Gone are the days when you had to be 6’6” with a jumper and waves (lol, s/o to those Kevin Durant memes) to get a signature shoe. Artists and performers like Don C, Travis Scott, Kanye West and Drake have proven that non-athletes can move shoes just as well as they move units (records).
Hoops shoes aren’t poppin’ like they did from 2000-12, no one messes with legit tennis shoes (akin to the Federer line) and Mo Pharaoh will never make Nike Running real money. Outside of Air Jordans no signature sneaker line has consistently, day-in-and-day-out, produced hype and sales like Jordan Brand. So why not switch up the game plan and start featuring/ sponsoring/ partnering with musicians, artists and all-around creatives? The move has readjusted our [the sneaker community’s] concept of hype and excitement.
Undoubtedly the biggest sneaker endorser/ collaborator (outside of Kanye) is Drake. The Canadian pop-star stays making heading lines for his music, his social media and in NBA news circles. No lie, Drake has been the biggest headline of the NBA Playoffs for weeks – especially after his court-side antics with the Golden State Warriors during Game 1 of the NBA Finals last Thursday. Troll level was over 9,000 as Drizzy rattled Warriors starters with words in a signed Dell Curry Raptors jersey (Steph Curry’s dad). It’s a bit of a stretch to say Toronto beat Golden State because of Drake, but there’s no doubt his presence was felt.
Unfortunately Toronto’s favorite son couldn’t propel the Raptors to a Game 2 victory, but he still came correct in the thoughtful apparel department lol.
In December 2013 the multi-Grammy Award winning artist signed exclusively with Jordan Brand; and over six different Drake x Jordan signature shoes bearing the duo’s names have released since. Keep in mind that we’re referring to released Jordan kicks – there are grips of unreleased Drake samples floating around the interwebs (S/O to Dallas Penn) that of which of you probably haven’t seen.
Interestingly enough, on Sunday morning Nike randomly pulled a Houdini (now you see me now you don’t) and released the long lost ‘OVO Raptors’ Air Jordan 4 Retros on the SNKRS App. We say ‘Houdini’ because late last year leaked images of the shoe surfaced around the same time rumors circulated about Drake leaving Nike for adidas, so the shoes disappeared. Seeing them drop unexpectedly surly helps build hype around the retros on the go forward on a pair that would’ve sat if they didn’t have the Raptor’s success Playoff run and Drake’s signature on the tongue backing them.
Soooo, with all of that said… below you’ll find some of the best unreleased Drake/OVO x Air Jordans for your viewing pleasure, enjoy!
1. Air Jordan 8 OVO ‘Kentucky Blues’
2. Air Jordan 14 OVO
3. Air Jordan 11 OVO ‘Pink Snakeskin’
4. Air Jordan 4 OVO