Chicago Sky guard Dana Evans remembers when her love of sneakers started.
While taking part in basketball in elementary college, she discovered herself interested in “funky colors” that didn’t match her uniform.
“I like to stand out on the court. I’ve always been like that,” she instructed the Tribune. “My favorite pair that started me on the path of being different was probably customizing my Nike Hyperdunks in all pink.”
Evans’ love of sneakers will attain a brand new peak within the Sky’s closing regular-season house recreation Friday in opposition to the Minnesota Lynx at Wintrust Arena. She will debut her Jordan Luka 2 participant version (PE) shoe, “The Intro,” a particular colorway made for Evans of Dallas Mavericks star Luka Dončić’s second signature shoe. To rejoice the event, the primary 400 followers will obtain a sky blue T-shirt with Evans’ DE11 brand.
For Evans, the shoe is a dream come true.
“It means a lot because I like to express myself on the court, whether that’s just having my nails, lashes or hair done, and now I’m able to do it through a shoe,” she mentioned. “I’ve always loved shoes. Being able to express myself within a shoe is pretty dope.”
Evans, whose sneaker trend is documented on the Instagram account DanaEvansKicks, signed with Jordan Brand final yr and was the primary Chicago athlete — male or feminine — to signal with the NBA legend’s sneaker imprint.
“Dana overall embodies exactly what we like to see in our athletes,” Jasmine Jordan, a area consultant within the Jordan Brand sports activities advertising and marketing division and the daughter of Michael Jordan, instructed the Tribune.
“When you look at Dana, you don’t think that she’s about to be taking you to the hole and cutting you and pulling back and hitting her jumpers. She’s so skilled and so agile for being so small, and it’s something that stuck out.”
One of greater than 10 WNBA athletes signed to the model, Evans is a part of a motion to push girls to the forefront of sneaker tradition. She believes it’s vital for feminine athletes to be seen throughout the house.
“To put ourselves out in that aspect is bringing more viewers, and having more eyes on us is important,” she mentioned. ”We’ve talked lots about that within the WNBA. Just having us being seen means folks can relate to us and perceive us extra by various things.”
New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu’s signature shoe, the Nike Sabrina 1, was launched earlier this month. Washington Mystics ahead Elena Delle Donne is the one different present feminine athlete to have a signature sneaker with the model.
It’s a transfer Gregory Jones II of G2 Hoops, Evans’ advertising and marketing agent, says will have an effect on the league for years to come back.
“Sabrina’s shoe is probably going to outpace some of the guys that had their first signature shoe,” Jones mentioned. “It shows that there is a lane in the market for women to have signature shoes and PEs. It gives us the opportunity to say that women in the WNBA can sell sneakers, and what that turns into is being able to pay them more as far as their revenue share in that space.”
In addition to Evans, Sky gamers Kahleah Copper, Ruthy Hebard and Elizabeth Williams (Adidas), Isabelle Harrison (Jordan), Marina Mabrey (Under Armour) and Courtney Williams (Moolah Kicks) have sneaker offers.
Evans, who’s averaging 8.7 factors off the bench, mentioned she “fell in love” with the Luka 1 whereas taking part in abroad as a result of it’s a snug low-top. And now she’s excited to get a pair of the second model of the shoe with particulars that carry particular which means for her.
The shoe is in shades of pink, Evans’ signature coloration, and blue. The laces are made to seem like DNA strands to characterize her household. Evans’ dad, Damon, has mentioned he would swap shifts together with his co-workers at a Gary metal mill to see Evans play. The shoe additionally has the quantity 23 to indicate this yr, Michael Jordan and pairs of chromosomes.
On the insole is a cougar head, an homage to the nickname of Gary West Side, the place Evans performed in highschool. She sits within the high 5 in scoring in Indiana High School Athletic Association historical past and was a McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American with the Cougars earlier than taking part in at Louisville.
Evans believes West Side was a giant a part of who she is right now.
“Coming from a school in Gary where a lot of people said I wouldn’t make it, a lot of people would talk down on it and say I wouldn’t be able to do it,” she defined. “But I love that I went through so many challenges and obstacles throughout my high school journey because I feel it made me so much stronger. It made me have to fight so much harder to get to where I am, and that will always stick with me.”
The sneaker additionally options pink pony hair on the higher to mirror her fashion of retaining her hair laid — an concept that she generally is a baller whereas additionally trying good.
The tongue has each Dončić and Evans logos, with a Jordan brand on the pull tag. In the shoe’s webbing are lightning to characterize her velocity, a bull’s-eye for her sharpshooting skill and a coronary heart for her household.
Though the sneaker received’t be on the market to the general public, Evans hopes that at some point a shoe together with her identify might be.
“I definitely would love that,” she mentioned. “I think that’s important for the women’s game as well. I think it would be dope for us to be able to sell our own shoes. I think it will do really well if they give it a chance.”