11/17/11 - 07:56am

Converse '11 Basketball Collection Debuts

by Abe Schwadron, SLAM Online

Converse '11 Launch Party NYC Q&A with Kyle Korver:

SLAM: You said something funny happened to you on your way here?

Kyle Korver: Yeah, I thought it was funny. So I get in the car to come here, and I drive down the street, and I look back, and who's walking across the street but David Stern! I was like I would never be in New York for any negotiations, I'd just be in Chicago, so it's kind of ironic I come to New York for this Converse event and I see David Stern walking across the street.

Kyle Korver is anxious to get back out on the court and help the Bulls reach a championship level (Getty Images).

SLAM: Speaking of the Commish, how frustrating has this lockout been?

KK: Yeah, I mean, we want to play. That's what we do, that's our job. We want to do it, and do it well. You try to stay ready for whenever this wraps up and we get to play again. So I've just been working out a lot.

SLAM: Especially frustrating for you being on a team that was right there last season?

KK: Yeah, for us.

We had a young team, and we had a season where I thought we worked really hard and developed some really great chemistry. You kinda have to have that cohesion to keep going. Obviously the lockouts is going to hurt every team in that way, but from our team standpoint, considering the season we had last year, and it really hurt how it ended, you just want to get back to it.

SLAM: How tough was it to watch the Finals?

KK: I didn't watch until Game 5. I couldn't. I just couldn't. I couldn't watch it.

SLAM: You and your Converse teammates all play different positions, have had different NBA paths, what brings you together under the Converse name?

KK: Converse is such a unique brand when it comes to basketball shoes. Just the whole history, and Converse itself has gone in so many different directions as shoe and a company. You've got the basketball line, but you also have the casual, the Chuck Taylor, obviously the music industry loves Converse. Converse really brings in a whole lot of people. I think we all like Converse for different reasons.

Like I said, I think it really developed as a basketball shoe company, and it's really come a long way. One of the first years they came back was the first year I came on board. Back then it was kind of old school-looking, and it wasn't necessarily an amazing looking basketball shoe. How they've grown since then with the shoe technology and the look and everything, it's really great to be a part of it.

SLAM: Do you feel like you were able to feel comfortable in your role in Chicago by season's end?

KK: I think that's something that Thibs did a really good job of, was defining roles. Guys knew exactly when they were going to go into the game, when they were going to come out, what they were supposed to do, and you had plays made for whatever your talents were. You definitely know what's expected of you and you know how to work this summer to get ready for what he wants you to do.

SLAM: Your new nickname, Hot Sauce—when did you first hear it, and what do you think of it?

KK: I didn't hear about it for a while. The first time I heard it, I was like "what are you guys yelling at?" and then I found out it was me. 

You walk down the street in Chicago and someone yells "Hot Sauce" at you, and I'm not really sure how to respond, to be honest with you.

I don't even know what it means (Laughs). I was talking to the Birdman about how he got called "Birdman," I wasn't even thinking about Hot Sauce but we were talking about it tonight. First time he got to be Birdman, he said it took him a couple years to get comfortable with it, and then obviously he's very comfortable with it now. So maybe it'll happen in a couple years, I don't know.

It's time to familiarize yourself with the Converse's upcoming basketball line, which debuts today, featuring the Converse DEFCON and Converse Pro Leather 2K11.

The brand counts JJ Barea, Lou Williams, Kyle Korver and Chris Andersen among its sponsored hoopers, and has constructed kicks that work for players as different as their current roster of unique personalities.

All the details on the release, from our friends at Converse:

A consistent staple in Converse basketball performance product, great emphasis has been placed on providing extensive technology in the upper, ensuring superior lockdown and ankle support.

The Converse DEFCON and Pro Leather 2K11 shoes feature ConTain Fit Technology in the upper, unique to Converse, which first appeared in the Star Player Evo shoe. Forming a lightweight brace around the foot and providing breathable structural support and cushioning, ConTain Fit contours the foot and transfers all physical force directly to the traction system for increased on-court mobility.

At the recent Converse launch event for the Converse DEFCON and Pro Leather 2K11, Team Converse athlete Chris Andersen, and professional basketball player, spoke about training in the Pro Leather 2K11.

"These shoes have blown my mind by the style and the way they perform on and off the court. I've been running the incline at the Red Rocks in Colorado in the Pro Leather 2K11 and I haven't put on a better shoe. Ankle support is key for any basketball shoe and this shoe gives me exactly what I need."

The Converse DEFCON shoe, named after the military term identifying defense readiness, was built for players to quickly transition from offense to defense. The DEFCON seamlessly integrates the upper and midsole with direct-inject EVA foam for lightness, breathability and containment. The DEFCON also comes with an *OrthoLite® sockliner providing long-lasting comfort during extended wear.

The Converse Pro Leather 2K11 has stepped out of its heritage and straight into the future of Converse basketball. A slight nod to the Converse Pro Leather, the first leather basketball shoe that Julius "Dr. J" Erving made famous, the Pro Leather 2K11 shoe predominantly features a "Dr. J" logo on the Y-Bar. It also boasts the iconic Star Chevron logo and a genuine leather forefoot.

This is where the similarities between old school and new school end. The Pro Leather 2K11 is built with technology demanded by today's athletes. Here, ConTain Fit Technology uses TPU coated mesh offering stability and durability needed on a basketball court, as well as full length Converse Balls Technology for incredible toe-to-heel impact resistance.

The Converse Holiday 2011 Basketball collection continues to deliver quality, versatile performance footwear for the 2011 season. The Converse DEFCON, offered in 12 colorways, is available nationwide at Foot Locker and specialty retailers for a suggested retail price of $90. The Converse Pro Leather 2K11, offered in white/black/red and black/white, is available nationwide at Foot Locker and specialty retailers for a suggested retail price of $100. The DEFCON and Pro Leather 2K11 will also be sold on converse.com.