November 21, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Tribute to the Philippines

INSPIRED BY the many visits to the country of its brand ambassador LeBron James and its way of paying tribute to the Philippines and the active basketball scene here, later this week Nike Basketball is launching locally the “Agimat” iteration of its popular LeBron 14 shoe line.

Featuring graphics inspired by traditional woven fabrics and distinct cultural elements built into the shoe design, the LeBron 14 Agimat combines the best of Nike performance innovation and Filipino heritage.

With the Filipino concept of “agimat,” a charm that offers good fortune and protection, worn for battles on and off the court in mind, the sneaker is being touted as the continuation of a legacy from a warrior in LeBron James to another.

Symbols found on the shoe’s tongue -- which shout “the Philippines” and “LeBron James” -- are those of a mountain (which pays homage to the terrain of the Philippines and LeBron’s relentless climb to peak performance), the letters “MNL” (a shoutout from LeBron to the ballers of Manila), the numbers “330” (the area code of Mr. James’s hometown -- Akron, Ohio), a flame (symbolizing both volcanoes in the Philippines and LeBron’s intense passion), and four stars (which celebrate Mr. James’s four most valuable player awards).

The release of the LeBron 14 Agimat could not have come at a more fitting time as Mr. James is once again showing why he is considered as the best player in the planet today, leading his world champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, to a still-unblemished record in the ongoing National Basketball Association playoffs.

While the LeBron 14 Agimat will not be available in the country until May 20, ahead of its worldwide release date, Filipinos can already get a glimpse of it in action as it is being rocked by Gilas Pilipinas, currently in action at the 2017 Southeast Asian Basketball Men’s Championship.

Gilas players welcomed the opportunity to be among the first to wear the new LeBron shoe, highlighting its on-court performance and how it represents the Philippines and the “Puso” (heart) battle cry they champion.

The LeBron 14 Agimat will be available only at Nike Park Fort BGC, Nike Park Glorietta 4, Titan Two Parkade BGC, and The shoe will retail for P8,895. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo