words & interview_Christopher Cason With the 26th pick in the 2009 NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls selected Taj Gibson out of USC. What I have seen out of Taj this season is a maturity that probably isn't present in most rookies. Because he takes his game so seriously, his development this season was one of the main factors in why the Bulls didn't think twice when it was time to part ways with talented forward Tyrus Thomas. Not one to bring tons of attention to himself, Taj has been dubbed "Mr. Hard Hat and Lunch Pale" by commentator Stacey King, thanks to his ability to get the job done without the flash and flair seen in some of the more athletic players that play the 4. With a season that is all about learning for the oldest rookie in this years draft class, I was able to catch up with Taj and talk about what's most important for his footwear. You wore the Kobe IV last year at USC, what was your impression of them? USC just got the new ones. Kobe kind of took USC under his wing, so, we get them on the regular now. I like them. I got some more coming in soon. Have you gotten a chance to try the V's? Oh yeah. I like them. They're light and that's one thing I like wearing, a light shoe. You're in the Air Max Rise, currently. What do you like most about that model? It's a good shoe. I got them from the All-Star game. Nike gave me a couple of pair and they've really helped my feet because I have plantar faciitis in both my feet. So, it's been real good for my feet. You've worn the Hyperdunk, the Kobes and now the Air Max Rise, what's been your favorite? The Max Rise and possibly the Kobes. Those are two of my favorites right now. They're both real good shoes for the feet. What are you looking for in a shoe when it comes time to performance? At first, when I got in the NBA, I loved colors and style, but after playing in so many games, it's all about taking care of your feet. With the luxuries of the Kobes and the Max Rise, they look good and make your feet feel good.