Pearls lie not on the seashore. A dive is required to find the prize. Time is necessary. And nothing is guaranteed. Some oysters don’t contain any jewels. But some do. Some hold the secret of precious beauty. Only after journeying into the unknown can the mystery get revealed.
There is mystery under the water. There is mystery above the water, even far away from the water. Parenthood is a mystery. Nothing is guaranteed.
LeBron James found himself a pearl through diving into parenthood. His daughter Zhuri is the precious treasure that he guards as if he were an oyster.
Zhuri, along with the idea of an oyster hiding a pearl, serve as the inspiration for the Nike LeBron 21. Longtime lead LeBron designer Jason Petrie worked together with the King to develop the idea of protection being the 21’s main theme. With that knowledge in mind, oysters and pearls begin to visibly break through the design language of the latest silhouette for number 23.
Like those pearls that hide deep under the water, the 21 has a pearl detailing that hides under the outsole. The center of the outsole is carved out to reveal the shank plate that helps with torsional rigidity. And what’s on the shank plate? A pearl design.
The 21’s overall design is playing off the pearl idea, too. Materials have varied from colorway to colorway, but the heel is uniform—its line are shaped like an oyster.
Functionally, the 21 has Zoom Air units in both the forefoot and the heel. But there is a difference from the front of the sneaker to the back of it. The Cushlon carrier foams have different densities from heel to forefoot, meaning that there is firmer foam in the heel and softer foam in the forefoot. Each heel strike in the 21 contains a progression from the firmer foam to the softer foam.
Colorways of the 21 have also been related to different pearls and oysters. Nike has so far revealed the “Abalone,” the “Tahitian,” the “Freshwater, the “Akoya” and the “Dragon Pearl” editions. Other colorways currently lay hidden. Let’s dive into the unknown to find more.