Laurelton, part of Queens, NY, is located east of Manhattan. Like the rest of Queens, the neighborhood is made up of families. Children race through the blocks and jump over the Merrick Boulevard, which leads through the community. There are side streets where you can go for a walk, and parks where you can spend the whole day. People of all ages appear in the neighborhood. The district is one big playground, an endless invitation to go outside and explore.
BMX star Nigel Sylvester was one of the children who made Laurelton his playground. He would ride his bike up and down the Merrick Blvd. or hang out in the street of his grandmother or P.S. 176 to mature or play football.
Sylvester had established himself as a top athlete by the age of 25. Riding around Queens developed into driving around the globe and he built a following that was fascinated by his bike videos. At that point, he decided to turn things upside down and got on his bike in a pair of Air Jordan Is.
"Around 2012, 2013, when I thought, I became my favorite sneaker for biking. Man, I really love this shoe. I start rocking to rideSays Sylvester, "Before, I always skated in (Nike) skate shoes.
"I've always been a fan of Jordan I," he adds. "It has always been a Grail shoe for me, something that has always been in demand. Oh shit, that's the Jordan I. You can not ride in it. You can go out there and do a stunt, not on some I'm gonna rock-this shit-on-my-bike-and-shit, But then something clicked. I just wanted to make that statement. People always stumbled upon it, but I thought Man, fuck it. It looks good, "
Although Sylvester is not a jerk, he was always on the ball. He played with his friends and caught the end of Michael Jordan's career. Contact with basketball helped him fully understand the impact of MJ on and off the pitch.
He would see the ego everywhere in New York City, and as evidence of Jordan's influence, he began to see it all over the world.
"That's one of the coolest things," he says. "Everywhere in the world – and I've traveled a lot – I've seen people adopt Is, so you know it's a true icon, a true classic, whether it's BMX, Actionsport or just culture, you can see it across so many borders and over so many cultural borders. "
Sylvester made sure to include the AJI in his list WALK Video series, a POV-style adventure in which it shows what it's like to sit behind the handlebars. London, Paris, Dubai, LA, Tokyo – the son of Queens brought the AJI on his travels.
The energy Sylvester brought to the ego did not go unnoticed. Frank Cooker, one of the chief designers of Jordan Brand, watched. He and Sylvester got together and talked about working together on the Air Jordan I. Their chemistry was immediate and they decided to honor the fact that Sylvester has no problem nagging a pair of Is while sitting on his bike.
"As soon as we sat down, he was like me Love what you do in the (sneaker)"Remembers Sylvester. "I'm doing my thing in those shoes landing tricks, I'm going out, I'm traveling around the world, the idea of doing the desperate Jordan has happened to me throughout the conversation."
Cooker wanted to capture the places normally beaten at Sylvester's couples. The toes and heels catch the brunt of the tricks and this is reflected in the color.
The rest of Sylvester's livery consists of a mini swoosh on the side forefoot, a reflective swoosh in the middle and a plain outsole in red. The last touch came at the collar where "Jordan Biking Co., Est. 2017 "is a call back to the project start.
It took about a year and a handful of design sessions to finally land on the right track. Sylvester says he was in the editing studio and finished one of his own WALK Videos when Cooker met him on Facetime with the finished product.
"It was crazy, man," says Sylvester. "I could not believe it, it looked exactly as I had imagined."
A few months later, launch events were organized in New York and Los Angeles. The 31-year-old thinks it's important for him to be able to talk to the people who have turned his colouristics upside down to spend time with them. He wanted to show them love for all the love they showed him. He had planned more, but the timing prevented him from taking the shoe to international cities.
"The people who support my work, the people who embrace my crazy ideas and what I do out there are so important," says Sylvester. "For a moment like this, definitely one of the biggest moments of my career, I wanted to celebrate this moment with the people to get a Jordan I on the market, a shoe that's so personal to me."
Before NYC and LA fall, Sylvester returned to Queens for a photo shoot. He was sitting at a traffic light on Merrick Boulevard carrying his Air Jordan I. Another kid running through the neighborhood.