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Designer reveals inspiration behind Kevin Garnett’s signature shoe

Former NBA MVP Kevin Garnett made his name as a preps player in the Chicago basketball circuit. He would go on to join a long list of Chicago-area players to land a shoe endorsement, but few have had signature shoes as successful as Garnett’s.

The Nike Air Garnett III, designed by Aaron Cooper, released in the fall of 1999. Many sneaker fans consider it one of the very best signature shoes ever.

Those fans will be pleased to know that Nike is planning on re-releasing the shoe — but with a different name (Air 3 LE) — this month.

Cooper sat down with Nice Kicks to discuss what inspired him to create one of the most popular basketball shoes ever made.

“KG seemed to be a perfect fit to help get more mesh basketball shoes onto the courts, and the idea of the fade also fit KG’s personality — his ‘glowing energy,’” beams Cooper.

“He is one of the most energetic people I know, and that’s where the outsole design comes in. It was inspired by a nuclear atom, something that radiates energy forever or for a very long time. So, the bottom of the shoe was the energy source, the part of the shoe that powers off the floor, and that energy source radiates up the shoe through the mesh, making the entire shoe glow.”

Garnett is widely considered to be a Hall of Fame candidate once he retires. Although he made his name — and won his MVP trophy — in Minnesota, Garnett notched his crowning achievement in Boston when he won his lone championship title in 2008.