History of Kicks Celebrating the Negro Leagues, Pt. 2

Kicks Inspired by the Negro Leagues

Date: Jun 19, 2024
Author: Zack Schlemmer
Topics: 2021 Topps Project 70, 2024 Topps MLB at Rickwood, Baseball, Jackie Robinson, Josh Gibson, Ken Griffey Jr., Kicks, MLB, Negro Leagues, Nike Air Griffey Max 1, Zack Schlemmer
Length: 519 Words
Reading Time: ~3 Minutes

With the news of Major League Baseball incorporating all Negro League stats into its official record books as of May 29, 2024, there has rarely been a time that the players, teams, and history of the Negro Leagues has been more in the limelight in the modern age. It’s truly a wonderful time for the sport of baseball.

The refreshed attention on the Negro Leagues has us at Topps excited and reminiscing about a number of things, including what we’re here to talk about today: sneakers. Throughout the years, sneaker companies have commemorated the Negro Leagues with various special edition releases celebrating the Black players and teams that created the invaluable histories of baseball and civil rights that are being honored more than ever now.

No player associated with the Negro Leagues has been celebrated and honored more in sneaker form than Jackie Robinson. The man that broke baseball’s color barrier is a cultural, athletic, and civil rights icon, and an inspiration for people around the world no matter what the color of their skin or favorite sport. Let’s take a look at a few of the most notable Jackie Robinson footwear releases below.

Jackie Robinson Sneakers/Kicks

Adidas Jackie Robinson Cleat Collection (2016)

Since 2004, Major League Baseball has celebrated “Jackie Robinson Day” annually on April 15, commemorating the date Robinson made his historic MLB debut in 1947, breaking the league’s color barrier. By 2016, this tribute extended beyond the baseball diamond, with athletic shoe brands like Adidas crafting special edition footwear to honor Robinson’s legacy. Among these was the Adidas Adizero Afterburner 2 cleat above.

Nike Air Griffey Max 1 “Jackie Robinson” (2021)

Ken Griffey Jr.’s iconic training shoe was given a special makeover in 2012 for this Jackie Robinson edition. The clean black and white colorway includes a famous quote from Robinson debossed on the ankle straps: “There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.”

Nike Dunk Low “Jackie Robinson” (2022)

No player’s name has been in the headlines more since MLB incorporated Negro Leagues stats into its records more than Josh Gibson, who now holds a place at or near the top of multiple categories including the new all-time leader in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS. This Dunk High references his time playing in the Mexican League for Azules de Veracruz in 1940 and ‘41\

Air Jordan 5 Player Exclusive “Jackie Robinson Day” Cleat (2023)

We’ll end this list celebrating the Negro Leagues and its players with a release that should be extra appealing to card collectors. This extremely limited edition—and extremely cool—Air Jordan 5 cleat was produced for select Jordan Brand athletes in MLB to wear on Jackie Robinson Day in 2023. The design takes inspiration from Robinson’s iconic 1948 Leaf rookie card. Unfortunately they were produced only for players and never released at retail, so pairs might be even more rare than the card!

History of Kicks Celebrating the Negro Leagues, Pt. 1

History of Kicks Celebrating the Negro Leagues, Pt. 1

Kicks Inspired by the Negro Leagues

Date: Jun 19, 2024
Topics: 2021 Topps Project 70, 2024 Topps MLB at Rickwood Negro League, Baseball, Cubans, Josh Gibson, Kicks, Minnie Miñosa, MLB, Negro Leagues, New York, Nike Dunk High Veracruz Untold Truth Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Zack Schlemmer
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