Back in ’98 Jordan rocked the 14s to rain down on the Utah Jazz. This was Mike’s second 3-peat with the Bulls and a historic last shot winning the game with 5.2 seconds left… hence the name “Last Shots”. That type of excellence is inspirational even 13 years later and can be appreciated by even non-sports fans. Inspired by MJ’s Ferrari F-50 and the last pair he wore before announcing his first retirement from the NBA.
One of the most fulfilling aspects of making the Branding Wars masks is going in blind and uncovering the character of the shoes. I don’t plan ahead when making the masks, the shoe itself truly dictates the mask. Once the shoes have been deconstructed certain lines and shapes show new life. For example, when I began working with the Last Shot 14s it became clear that I’d have to include much more of the sole than usual (past masks feature the sole on the canister). Without the red of the sole the mask wouldn’t properly represent the shoes. I had no idea they would end up being the ear-like shapes that formed.
My work is an outlet for me. A chance to reflect on the world around me. I’m often asked about my politics, what these masks mean, “what’s the point?” or “why would you?”. The art world wants to promote artists who further their politics, unfortunately independent thinkers don’t quite fit that mold sometimes. I don’t want my work to be a reflection of my personal politics, they’re there but I’d prefer to speak through my work rather than preach through it. The important things are 1) exploring creativity and imagination 2) making something manufactured in limited quantities into something one of a kind and handcrafted and 3) working with materials that I’m passionate about. Love it, hate it, misunderstand it or just plain get it… it’s art so it’s up to you to find your own understanding of it.
Big thanks to Trey Billie for the photo shoot.
Want to own this one of a kind piece of sneaker art? You can, check out the the eBay listing!
The Bulls returned to Utah for Game 6 on June 14, 1998 leading the series 3–2. Jordan executed a series of plays, considered to be one of the greatest clutch performances in NBA Finals history. With the Bulls trailing 86–83 with 41.9 seconds remaining, Phil Jackson called a timeout. When play resumed, Jordan received the inbound pass, drove to the basket, and hit a layup over several Jazz defenders. The Jazz brought the ball upcourt and passed the ball to forward Karl Malone, who was set up in the low postand was being guarded by Rodman. Malone jostled with Rodman and caught the pass, but Jordan cut behind him and swatted the ball out of his hands for a steal. Jordan then slowly dribbled upcourt and paused at the top of the key, eyeing his defender, Jazz guard Bryon Russell. With fewer than 10 seconds remaining, Jordan started to dribble right, then crossed over to his left, possibly pushing off Russell, although the officials did not call a foul. Jordan then made what would become the climactic shot of his career. After John Stockton missed a desperation 3-pointer, Jordan and the Bulls claimed their sixth NBA championship, and secured a second three-peat.
While you’re at it check out this video for “Get Em High” by Tha BassHeadz ft. Trey Billie (who did a quick photo shoot with me before it started raining)