While he’s designed countless shoes that have become iconic silhouettes for Nike, Tinker Hatfield is most renowned for his work with Michael Jordan. Specifically the Air Jordan 3, which a model of Hatfield’s original sketch were brought to market over the weekend.
Kobe Bryant has referred to the Jordan 3 as one of his favorite shoes of all-time, which made it natural for the former Los Angeles Lakers superstar to collaborate with Hatfield on his own signature shoe.
The day after Bryant scored 60 points to cap off a remarkable 20-year career, Nike unveiled the “Kobe 11 Muse Pack.” The three shoes drew inspiration from Nike CEO Mark Parker, and designers Hatfield and Eric Avar.
Each of the three figureheads played a pivotal role in Bryant joining the Nike brand and developing his signature line. Hatfield himself designed the 11th shoe in Bryant’s series. The “Kobe 11 Tinker” featured a hue and elements similar to that of the Jordan 3, and it include Hatfield’s signature inside the tongue.
“I have nothing but great thoughts and great experiences with Kobe,” Hatfield said of working with Bryant. “Always felt like he was super smart, very strategic and he really always knew what he needed as an athlete, which was really great. He obviously spent a lot of time thinking even before he met with us.”
Having designed shoes for countless athletes, Hatfield drew similarities between Bryant, Jordan and Russell Westbrook. I do believe if you were to pick three guys who are sort of close to each other in style of play, maybe similar in size, it would be Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan,” he said.
“And they’re all different eras. Russell Westbrook, being the youngest and the newest of the three, he has those two guys to build off of. Kobe in his own right was wonderful to work with as well.”
Not long after they released the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro, which is Bryant’s take on a retro shoe, the brand unveiled the Nike Kobe A.D. NXT 360, the newest model in his signature line.