Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx is having an incredible season. At the halfway mark, she picked up a Western Conference win in the WNBA All-Star Game, and she grabbed the All-Star MVP award with a stunning 30-point performance. She is second in the league in scoring, and the Lynx sit atop the Western Conference with a clinched playoff spot.
As if her season weren't going well enough, Moore, the first female basketball player signed to Jordan Brand, also received her own special edition Air Jordan 1 retro sneaker colored to her specifications. The day after her stunning All-Star performance, Moore's kicks were available in stores nationwide.
"This puts her on par with the rest of Team Jordan's big names," said Brandon Richard, senior writer for Sole Collector. "It's now Melo [Carmelo Anthony], CP3 [Chris Paul], Blake [Griffin], [Russell] Westbrook and Maya. Having her logo on one of the most iconic sneakers of all time gives women something new to shoot for."
Even Little League superstar and self-proclaimed sneakerhead Mo'ne Davis is feeling Moore's new shoe.
"I think the shoes are very cool," Davis said. "It helps a lot of females get their confidence up and gives them a higher goal to achieve."
As the lone female Jordan Brand hoops athlete, Moore is a trailblazer -- for the brand, the footwear industry and, most importantly, women who love sneakers. We caught up with her to discuss the significance of the shoe and her thoughts on the world of kicks.
espnw: The biggest thing that stood out to me when I heard about these shoes is the available sizes. The Air Jordan 1 retro Maya Moore sneaker only comes in women's sizes, right?
Maya Moore: It's a girl's sneaker, so it goes up to 11 in women's, and so that's the range for these.
espnW: What was the thought process behind making it available in just girls' sizes, even though guys dig your shoes and style too?
MM: It's something we've been wanting to focus on, as far connecting not just with the kids' market but girls and knowing that's where the future is. By establishing that connection with the girls, we can move definitely outward from there. Some of the guys who wear a 9 or 9.5 are probably very excited, but most sneakerheads are probably only going to be able to look at them or get them for their friends or family.
espnW: The Air Jordan 1 is an iconic lifestyle shoe. Why did you choose to be represented by a lifestyle shoe and not a shoe we can ball in? I mean, you can if you want to, but it's not the main purpose of the shoe.
MM: It's actually a cool way to get started, just because the Retro 1 is so classic. It's so loved. It's near and dear to my heart. It's one of my favorites, and I was able to just put my personal touch on it, but it's classic at the same time. I think I'm classic in fashion and style. Also, a classic kind of a player. I love the game. I'm a gym rat. The gold in there kind of represents the winning that I've been fortunate enough to be a part of. We were able to do something pretty creative with a classic shoe, and with my logo on there, you can wear it off the court. We want to continue to grow the game and the awareness of it, not only in the gym but everywhere we go. You can take that shoe everywhere.
espnw: You mentioned sneakerheads, and this is an iconic shoe -- it's the Air Jordan 1. Are you a sneakerhead?
MM: I wouldn't call myself a sneakerhead, but I appreciate awesome shoes. The art that goes into all the Jordans is just mind-blowing. I'm definitely a fan, but I don't think I'm worthy enough to be called a sneakerhead.
espnw: When you think of the sneakerhead culture, what comes to mind?
MM: Just that sneakerheads are people that have a passion for art in a sneaker form and definitely around basketball. I think that's where you see that art-culture connection, with the sport merging beautifully in the sneaker.
espnw: It's funny you called them art because there's actually a traveling exhibit featuring more than 100 pairs of sneakers as works of art. Does it blow your mind that sneakers are in museums and viewed as collectible art now?
MM: It's different. I's cool. Like I said, I think there is so much detail and effort that goes into the shoes that it is worthy of putting it all together for people to see. It's a part of our culture. Most of us who are athletes and former athletes have a relationship with our shoes because it's what moves us, it's what drives us, it's what kind of sets the foundation. You get a lot of confidence from your shoes and your performance, and it's something you're thoughtful about, so I can appreciate a good sneaker.
Adena Andrews also contributed reporting to this piece.