words & images_Nick DePaula As this summer's World Basketball Festival aims to celebrate both the sport and Nike's true performance innovation in footwear, Yi Jianlian is the perfect representation of just how far the game of basketball and the world of footwear have grown. Now preparing for the start of his fourth NBA season this fall with the New Jersey (and soon to be Brooklyn) Nets, Yi will first be leading Team China in this summer's FIBA World Championships. He'll look to "step it up another level" as their marquee player, with Yao Ming sidelined by injury. Sole Collector and members of the media got a chance to catch up with Yi earlier today in an open forum setting that you can read below, where he discussed his initial thoughts on the newest Hyperdunk, his favorite shoes growing up, and what he'll be doing this summer to work on his game. Nick DePaula: What were your first impressions of the Hyperdunk 2010? Yi Jianlian: They're really comfortable and they really fit good on your feet. For running, they're really light and soft, and for landing, they feel comfortable. Media: What's the most important performance feature that you look for in a shoe? Yi: When you stop, start, jump and are running -- every different player has different things that they like about their shoes -- but for me, I like a more lighter and softer shoe. Media: With Yao not playing this summer, do you expect to have a bigger leadership role this summer with Team China? Yi: For me, I'll try to do my best and try to help the team win some games. We need to step it up another level and I'll just try and do my best to play for the team. Media: When you were growing up in China, did you have any favorite shoes? Yi: I really liked the [original] Hyperdunk, and I've worn those for three years now. It's the one shoe that I feel is really comfortable with my foot. Every different person is different, and some are lighter or better for more jumping. My first basketball shoe was Nike. Then, my favorite shoe was when I was twelve or thirteen years old, and I had my first pair of Jordan shoes. The XII. That's my favorite. Media: Are you excited to move to Brooklyn? Yi: I've been there, and I have friends living there and have been there a few times, but it's like two years later on, so I'm not really thinking about it. I think the whole team is excited for it though. Right now, we're looking forward to next season. Media: Going into this season, you got a lot stronger and bulked up a bit, was there a reason you wanted to get stronger? Yi: I just feel like I needed to be a little bit stronger and that's why I focused on lifting weights in the summer. This year, maybe I'll focus more on skills and the little things. Media: What are you looking to improve on next season? Yi: My skills. The little things on the court. How to get myself more open, my rebounding and my defense. A closer look at Yi's feet: