as told by Steve Mullholand
published in Issue 45 of Sole Collector Magazine, the 10th Anniversary Issue
Issue 8 was definitely huge because of the LeBron cover. We shot this cover on campus at Nike, and LeBron was there with his mom, Maverick [Carter] and a few other people. It was a time where he was still new to the League, he had just come off his rookie season, and he was just a kid. It was really hard to believe, but this huge-ass dude next to me was just a kid. [Laughs]
He was so damn nice. He just said, "Well, let’s do whatever you guys want to do for the cover." I said, "Well, I want to get your whole body in the photo with you wearing the shoes. But if you're standing up, you're going to look so damn small on the cover. Lets get a chair!" He just said, "Yeah, that'd be great."
So we got everything all set up in this photo studio on campus, and we're getting ready to shoot, and the guy from Nike Basketball brings over the LeBron II Lows for the shot, but they're a size 9. [Laughs]
I'm like, "Man, LeBron's got these big-ass hands and here he's gonna be holding a size 9? It's not gonna look right." But that was the only shoe they had, other than the pair on his feet.
We could either not shoot his feet, and he could be holding onto his actual size, or we could Photoshop the shoe. So that's exactly what we ended up doing. He held that size 9 in the photo, and then as soon as we were done, I took a photo of that shoe in the exact same angle and lighting and Photoshopped it into his hand. [Laughs]
If you look real closely you could maybe tell that it might not look right, but anybody looking at the cover otherwise, you'd never be able to guess that the shoe was Photoshopped into it.
Once we got done with the shoot, it was actually pretty late. He had a full day of meetings there at Nike before even doing our interview and shoot, and there wasn't anyone left on campus by the time we got done. It had to be around eight o'clock at night.
Retrokid and I were going to walk back across campus to go to the parking lot, and as we're walking out and saying goodbye, LeBron says, "Hey, I can drive you guys over there. They gave me a golf cart for the whole day to drive around."
So we're both like, "Hell yeah!" [Laughs] How cool is that? Getting into LeBron James' golf cart and he's driving us around campus at Nike. Just Alex and I, and it was cool as shit. I let Alex sit up in the front and I sat in the back, and I'm trying to stir it up and have a little fun.
Well, we get to these stairs at the edge of the Mia Hamm Building, and I don't know, it has to be about 20 steps. We either had to go all the way back around a different direction, or go down these stairs.
LeBron says, "Should I just try it down these stairs?"
And every day of the week otherwise, I would say hell yes to that. [Laughs] How much fun would that be? Fuckin' bumpin’ down those stairs with LeBron driving – come on! It'd be amazing.
But I immediately thought about how the summer before, Nike had just signed LeBron to this crazy $90 million contract.
He was THE guy. If anything happened to him, and I was in the car? The freaking adult at that. [Laughs] If I would've said, "Yeah, let’s go do it." Oh my god, I could just imagine the wrath that would've come down on me. So, we bypassed all that, went back around a longer way and made it back to our car. It was really cool, though, just hanging out with LeBron like that, and he was great.
Sole Collector Magazine // Issue 8 -- June 2005