words & images // Nick DePaula

Because sneakers have to clearly be made for the future, sometimes not everything pans out quite as planned. The annual NBA All-Star Weekend is probably the very best example of that, with companies creating hordes of sneakers each year that never see the light of day.

Whether it’s for a dunk contest that LeBron never enters, or in this case, shoes for a player that doesn’t end up making the All-Star Game, regardless, they’re still fun to look at.

After a stellar start to the season for Brandon Jennings as the Bucks fought through their usual helping of injuries, there appeared to be an outside chance that we’d see the first player to skip college for Europe suiting up in the 62nd annual All-Star Game. If he were selected as a reserve, the plan was for Brandon to wear this two-toned splattered blue version of his signature Under Armour Bloodline model to coincide with the sneakers worn in Orlando by Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams.

Featuring some of his favorite tattoos along the shoe’s midfoot strap, there’s a nod to his hometown of Gardena, the Roscoe’s logo from his forearm and his 310 area code. Though he might not have gotten enough of the coaches’ votes to squeak in, he’s not letting that get him down.  

“The main thing was, it was a great thing I was even in the conversation at the end of the day,” Jennings smiles. “That just means that some of the hard work is starting to pay off a bit, and I still need to go back to the drawing board, keep working hard and find another way to improve.”

Rather than make the trip to Orlando at the end of February to soak in the sun and the never-ending parties, he stayed put in Milwaukee for the weekend to work on his game. “I still think I need to be working even harder if I want to get there,” he says. “Nobody said it was going to be easy, and the main thing is the fact that I’m in the conversation.”