The world of sneakers and basketball have long been intertwined, with athletes becoming cultural icons through their performance on the court and their influence in fashion and style off the court. 
The ‘Pass the Torch’ Air Jordan 1, born from the collaboration between Nike's Jordan Brand and NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard, stands as a testament to this dynamic relationship. This special edition sneaker not only captures a historic sporting achievement but also embodies the spirit of excellence that propels athletes to greatness.
The ‘Pass the Torch’ Air Jordan 1 draws inspiration from a defining moment in NBA history, the 2014 NBA Finals. Kawhi Leonard, then a hot prospect with the San Antonio Spurs, showcased his unwavering dedication and exceptional skills on the court. As the Spurs triumphed over their opponents, Leonard's brilliance shone through, earning him the coveted Finals MVP award. This sneaker commemorates his contributions during that pivotal season and his role in securing the championship for his team.
The design of the ‘Pass the Torch’ Air Jordan 1 pays homage to the San Antonio Spurs team colours, with a predominantly clean white base with mirrored overlays accented by bold black and metallic gold incentives. The shoe is placed on top of a translucent midsole. This sneaker  elegance of the design mirrors Leonard's playing style which is powerful yet understated, with an emphasis on precision and finesse. The incorporation of the ‘Pass the Torch’ emblem on the tongue serves as a symbol of Leonard's journey from a rising star to a revered figure in the basketball world. Like the skilful execution of a game-winning shot, the craftsmanship behind the ‘Pass the Torch’ AJ1 is meticulous. Every stitch, material choice, and embellishment speaks to the dedication of both the design team and the athlete it honours. From the iconic Air Jordan wings logo on the ankle to the "2014" detail on the heel, each element of the shoe contributes to a holistic narrative of Kawhi’s legacy.
Kawhi Leonard's journey from emerging talent to championship MVP serves as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring athletes, reminding them that dedication, resilience, and unwavering focus can lead to monumental achievements.
This sneaker, then, becomes more than just a piece of footwear. It transforms into a tangible symbol of dedication and passion, encouraging wearers to embrace their own paths and strive for greatness, just as Kawhi did on the grand stage of the NBA Finals.

This sneaker was one of many in Nike’s “Think 16" campaign. Nike celebrates moments of greatness and historic achievements in sports, particularly in the realm of basketball. The campaign was introduced in 2018 as a nod to iconic moments in NBA history and features a collection of sneakers and apparel that pay tribute to these milestones.

The phrase "Think 16" references the 16 wins needed to secure an NBA championship, making it a symbolic representation of the ultimate goal in basketball. The campaign aims to evoke nostalgia and appreciation for legendary players, teams, and moments that have shaped the sport and left a lasting impact on fans and athletes alike. Some of the other most notable releases under the "Think 16" banner include sneakers commemorating Michael Jordan's iconic "The Shot" during the 1989 NBA Playoffs, LeBron James' unforgettable Game 1 performance in the 2018 NBA Finals, and Kobe’s historic 81-point game. 

In the ever-evolving landscape of sneaker culture, the ‘Pass the Torch’ Air Jordan 1 stands as a testament to the intersection of sports and art. Its design weaves a narrative of triumph, resilience, and mentorship, encapsulating the essence of Kawhi Leonard's journey to championship glory. 

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Levi Niekerk