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November 7th
Spike Lee “Spiz’ike” Signing @ Footaction 34th St

With the NBA season frozen indefinitely, it was a special treat to see the iconic, orange-and-blue blooded filmmaker hop out of a cab on 34th and 7th, one block away from Madison Square Garden, to celebrate the newest edition of his very own Air Jordan Spiz’ike. Lee stopped by the Footaction Flagship Store to sign some sneakers and chop it up with Harlem’s own Boobie Smooth, and two lucky fans (including one who’d been in front of the store since 1:40pm the previous day) who won a free pairs in a raffle contest.

Spike premiered the Knicks’ blue and orange shoes by rocking them during the 2011 Knicks-Celtics playoff series, featuring a suede upper and icey gumsole. During an intimate Q/A with a few dozen fans, Lee reminisced about his early days working with Nike, and also spilled the beans on the new incarnation of the Spiz’ike dubbed “The Son of Mars.” The campaign for the sneaker will feature Spike Lee’s son in full Mars Blackmon garb, and they’re slated to release in 2012.

So much of today’s youth trends in hip-hop/streetwear are influenced by styles you helped to make iconic in the Eighties and Nineties. How does it make you feel to see our generation, most of which wasn’t even alive when your most prolific films were made, lined up outside to cop Air Jordans you designed?

Spike: It feels good, because I grew up loving sneakers. I still remember the day I got my first pair of Converse. That was a big deal. They cost $5 and it took a lot to get $5 from your parents to buy your first pair of Cons. They were only high-top or low-top, black or white. We used to say, “If your sneakers slip and slide, get the ones with the star on the side. Ask your moms to empty her purse to get the ones that say Converse.”

Spike kicking rhymes out here!

Spike: That’s something we just grew up with in Brooklyn. If you had wack sneakers, you couldn’t come outside! We used to called them M.O.s. You know what that stood for? “M.O.-tations.” [Laughter]

Did you ever clean them with the toothbrush, keep the laces clean?

Spike: That came later. [Laughter]

You’ve got a whole line outside for these new limited edition New York Knicks Spizikes. Was there ever a pair of sneakers that you were that determined to get?

Spike: Oh yeah, the first Jordans. That’s why I had Mars Blackmon wear them, because you had to have them. I’m not good with the roman numerals, but one of my favorite ones were the ones with the patent leather—the Elevens? Yeah, the Elevens. And my Spizikes!

You’ve had a long releationship with Michael Jordan. What was your last conversation with him about?

Spike: He was telling me how the Knicks stink. Mike has this event, the Jordan Classic. The latest one was in Las Vegas that I saw him at. Mike’s in a tight situation now because he’s one of the owners now. He’s on the other side.

It must be crazy, especially during a time like this in the NBA.

Spike: That’s his money.

You also recently did a pop-up store in Brooklyn…

Spike: Yeah, Spike’s Joint.

Right, you guys were selling a bunch of the old 40 Acres & A Mule apparel, how’d that go?

Spike: We had the stuff in the basement, and I said, “We ought to sell it.” It was crazy, people lined up around the block.

Do you have any plans, now that you’ve seen the demand for the apparel is there?

Spike: Yeah, that was a great feeling, seeing that people still want the stuff. So there’s been discussions.

Is there anything specific in the works?

Spike: A relaunch? We’re thinking about it.

You’ve been asked a lot about your opinions on the lockout, but what’s the one game this season that you really wanted to make sure you were at your floor seats for?

Spike: The home-opener would have been great, against Miami. The west coast teams only come once a year. I think we missed the Lakers, I’m not sure. But any game against the Heat is a big game.