Fabolous Discusses Patrick Ewing’s Legacy, Ewing Olympic Rerelease and Dream Team Memories
On Wednesday (July 20), Ewing Athletics held a special event for the rerelease of the highly anticipated Ewing Eclipse Olympic Pack at streetwear retailer ALIFE in New York City. Counting the presence of New York Knicks legend Patrick Ewing and Brooklyn rapper Fabolous, hundreds of New Yorkers lined up in front of ALIFE to get their hands on the special sneakers and take a flick with the NBA Hall of Famer and platinum-selling rapper.
Ewing Athletics brings back the original shoes worn by Ewing on the court during the 1992 Barcelona Summer games, dropping the Eclipse Olympic Pack just in time for the start of the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The sneakers, which dropped more than 24 years ago, were released this week in three colorways with a matching snapback to go along with the kicks.
While the original U.S.A. and Black colorways were expected to drop, sneakerheads who attended the ALIFE launch were surprised with a third colorway, an all-gold Eclipse sneaker that was dubbed as the Gold Medal iteration. Ewing’s Olympic Eclipse model has never hit retail shelves again until now. The shoes are available for purchase at ALIFE for a suggested retail price of $120.
During the successful launch of the Ewing Eclipse Olympic Pack, XXL had a chance to chop it up with Patrick Ewing and Fabolous about the rerelease of the Olympic Pack and the impact of the unforgettable 1992 Dream Team. Plus, check out detailed images of the latest Ewing sneakers and gear below.
XXL: You relaunched Ewing Athletics in 2012, but today you're rereleasing the popular Ewing Eclipse Olympic sneakers. Why did you feel like it was the perfect time to launch the sneaker and tell me about the impact of the "Olympic" sneaker?
Patrick Ewing: Well, you know the Olympics are right around the corner and other people who played in the Olympics with me have released shoes already about the Olympics. There’s Michael [Jordan], Charles Barkley and me and couple of other guys with their signature shoes but no one has had the success of that team and the guys that were on that team.
When the sneakers first dropped in 1992, how involved were in you the creative process of Eclipse Olympic?
PE: Well, you know we hired a bunch of designers who create the shoes and I pick and choose the ones I want and these sneakers were the ones that I picked to play with at the Olympics in 1992. So, in that aspect I was responsible for picking the shoes. All the technology and all of the things that went into the shoe they were already worked out in all of my other shoes so in terms of that I didn’t really have to pick anything just the design.
Is there anything different between the 1992 model and 2016 version?
PE: We actually didn’t do anything different to the shoes. We kept the same features it had when it first released in ’92. The Gold Medal Eclipse that you see today is a new colorway of the shoe, but the white sneaker is the same exact shoe I wore in the Olympics and the black one came out during the ’92 season as well.
What are some of your favorite features on the shoe?
PE: To me, more than anything it’s the comfort of the shoe. Although it came with a strap, I would take off the strap when I played. The tongue is also something that I really like. It displays my jersey number and the symbols when I played with the Dream Team in the Barcelona Olympics.
Can you recall your favorite moment while wearing the Eclipse shoe?
PE: My greatest memory was stepping up in the podium and getting my gold medal. That sticks out a lot as one of the greatest moments in my basketball career. I don’t have a particular game in which I remember a certain mount with the shoes but I know that our practices were much more fun than the game because we were battling against each other talking trash against each other, trying to dominate each other. So the whole Olympics, the whole working your way up to the Olympics was an amazing experience for me.
How gratifying is it to see the support that the sneaker community has towards you and the Ewing Athletics brand?
PE: It means a lot to see everyone support the brand. Like I’ve said before, people say that big people are not good sellers and can’t sell sneakers, but we are here to show people that big men do sell. It means a lot that my name is on the shoe and it’s doing extremely well and it also tells that these guys are doing an outstanding job of picking the right places to sell the shoes and handling the day to day aspect of the business. Here we are four or five years later and it’s still doing extremely well.
I know the brand collabed with Fabolous last year. Any plans of future collabs with rappers again?
PE: We’re gonna do another shoe with Fabolous again this year. We have some stuff with 2 Chainz coming and a couple of other things that I can’t announce just now, but yeah we’re trying to work with as much people as possible.
What other rappers would you like to do sneaker collabs with?
PE: [Laughs] Well, you know that part I leave for the design team. I have a lot of guys who I listen to their music but in terms of that part of the business, I let the design team pick and choose what’s best for business.
What hip-hop artists do you find yourself listening to nowadays?
PE: I still listen to the old stuff. You know I still listen to Biggie and I still listen to Pac and Fat Joe. I love Jay Z. And as far as new stuff, I listen to some of 2 Chainz’s music.
And during your playing days with the 1992 Dream Team, what kind of music would you listen to before games or during practices?
PE: At that time, I was listening to a lot of 2Pac music and of course I had my reggae on deck so a lot of Bob Marley and Buju Banton, Beenie Man so I listened to pretty much a little bit of everything.
What are your thoughts on the rerelease of the Ewing Eclipse Olympic Pack sneakers?
Fabolous: Oh man, it's dope because for me I grew up when the sneakers were released the first time around and I remember begging my moms to buy me the Ewing sneakers and now we seeing the shoes come back around in full circle and like a lot of the '90s brands and retro shoes that are coming back. People are appreciating them the same way when they came out the first time around.
Growing up in New York, tell me about the impact that the Ewing Athletics brand had in the city?
Fabolous: I think Pat was a trendsetter and kind of an innovator in that light, you know what I mean? Even coming from Adidas and stepping off and creating his own brand and still using the same attitude of when he was with another brand but now with a shoe representing himself. I think the people adapted to Pat switching sneaker brands the same way they did with him as a sports figure, you know what I'm saying? Patrick has always been a classic, stand up guy and the shoes became a classic stand up shoe as well.
Last year, you worked on a collaboration with Ewing Athletics for the 33 Hi silhouette. Can we expect another collaboration with you and the brand in the near future?
Fabolous: Yeah, man. I'm always open for a Ewing collab. The 33 Hi was dope because I just told everyone that was my favorite one. That was the one that I seen first. The one I seen everyone in the hood wearing. I got a funny story. My brother actually got his pair first and I went and bought some Nikes and I came back to the hood and everybody was on his shoes like, "Oh, he got the Ewings!" and everybody was overlooking mines and I was tight.
I was like "Yo, I knew I should've gotten the Ewings" [laughs]. After that, I knew and I went and grabbed me a pair, you know? The Ewing brand was part of our growing up. It was something that we'd look forward to with every new release and getting the shoes, so the brand has its place in New York.
Tell me about the impact of the 1992 Dream Team and how was it for you to watch such a historic squad come together at the Barcelona Olympics?
Fabolous: That's my favorite squad! I had a show one time in Spain and I ended up flying over to Barcelona just to go see a museum that they have there. So I saw the museum and saw where they played a lot of the sports that they had for that Olympics. So it was just a trip for me because I remember the '92 basketball team was what had me really watching the Olympics.
Being a kid from the hood I wasn't watching no jousting, track and field or none of that, so I was just watching basketball, you know what I'm saying? But it's funny how one sport can actually make you check out the other sports during the Olympics and since they're on all day, you'd find yourself watching the guy that jumps over the stick while waiting for the basketball games to start and you actually start getting into the different types of sports.
But I definitely saluted the '92 team and it was one of my favorite sports moments almost, you know, me seeing that team assembled together like that you know what I mean? Even today, I was thinking about it because I saw something on ESPN and I was thinking about how back then Isaiah Thomas was originally supposed to be on the team and I think Magic [Johnson] and [Michael] Jordan and them had a little tiff so they had [John] Stockton in there you know what I mean?
So there's a whole bunch of stories behind the squad. I remember Christian Laettner was on the squad and I would always be like, "What is Laettner doing with this squad?" So yeah, the '92 team was a great squad and a great story.
And to close out, tell me about the impact of the legendary Patrick Ewing?
Fabolous: Man, growing up in New York it's incredible to just be here and work alongside with him because this somebody I watched play a lot of games. I have a lot of memories of Pat and the Knicks. You know, now that they're showing all this O.J. [Simpson] stuff [on TV], I remember watching the championship game of the Knicks and Pat in the Finals and they cut from the championship game to the O.J. [car] chase and I'm just like, "Yo, what's going on?" you know what I'm saying?
We were such Knicks fans that we were kind of tight a little bit and we didn't even know at the time that it would be such a big thing. We were just tight that the Knicks game got cut off. So like I said, it's an honor to be sitting next to this man and even down to the sneaker game I have the upmost respect for Patrick.
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