LeBron James' tunnel fit for the NBA All-Star Game was the primetime spot of the regular season, and for the occasion, he rocked the unreleased yellow Off-White x Nike Air Force 1.
Virgil Abloh gifted the signed pair to James, and the timing suggests the long-rumored sneaker will finally release this year. Leaked images have previously surfaced, but this is the first time we've seen the yellow Air Force 1 in any official capacity.
As he often does for friends, Abloh used a sharpie to add "Virgil Was Here," "Black Lives Matter," and LeBron's name to the sneakers' midsoles. The spacing of "Le Bron" is impossible not to notice, perhaps just a quirky choice from the designer. Abloh also wrote his last name on the yellow hangtag, but LeBron James removed it for wear — another argument for why you should never leave it on yourself.
A long time coming — Sneaker leakers first got ahold of images of Abloh's yellow Air Force 1 in May 2020 and even then indicated the sneaker wouldn't release until sometime this year.
Off-White and Nike originally released a semi-translucent Air Force 1 as part of the original "The Ten" collection, and several other color variants have released since in a more limited capacity. A more classic white version was released for the Air Force 1's 35th anniversary in 2017, while a black version dropped in collaboration with MoMa that same year.
Another slightly different black Air Force 1 followed in 2018, as did a pair in Nike's signature "Volt" shade. The most recent release was a "University Blue" Air Force 1 made to commemorate Abloh's 2019 show at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art.
The construction — Nearly four years after Abloh first started collaborating with Nike, his Air Force silhouette remains the same. Nike's Swoosh gets exaggerated stitching with an orange tag hanging off of it, while the tongue and collar expose their inner materials.
The only noticeable change is that the mustache is entirely sewn down, as opposed to previous versions that left it only partially affixed. But for the most part, we're just getting a bold new color scheme — which will be enough to have sneakerheads lining up for an L on the SNKRS app.
Stay tuned for official release details, which could be coming very soon now that LeBron James has given the shoe such a public debut.