All-Star Zach LaVine Speaks About New Balance, Chicago, and More

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine has established himself as a standout in the NBA. Having been on a tear since the All-Star break, he continues to put the league on notice that he’s one of the best guards in the game.

In collaboration with Foot Locker and New Balance, LaVine stopped by the Foot Locker location on State Street and surprised local high schoolers who were participating in a skills and drills session. In the session, he helped the kids work on their game, drawing on his own experience with aspiring hoop dreams to share words of advice and encouragement.

We sat down and chopped it up with Zach, touching on topics like his New Balance PEs, Joe Freshgoods, and what he likes in a basketball shoe – read the full interview below. And a big thanks to New Balance and Foot Locker for the opportunity.

(Note: this interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

It’s been about a year since you announced that you were signing with New Balance. How’ve things been since?
It’s been great, man. It’s a big family yet a tight-knit group that allows you to have your voice heard. I know I made the right decision.

For this partnership with New Balance and Foot Locker, you see these kids out here working on their game, and you say some words of encouragement to them. What would you tell 14–15-year-old Zach if you were in their position?
I pretty much told them I was in their shoes not too long ago, and if they really want to pursue this, they have to sacrifice something. Either their time, friends, work, or whatever it may be. If you really want to take this to the next level, and you’re not far away from being where I was when I got drafted at 18 or 19 years old, put everything you can into it and see where it takes you.

Having basically debuted the New Balance Two WXY V3 and now being the face of the shoe, what would you say is your favourite feature?
For me, it’s my PEs – and that I can have so many different colourways. The shoe is very responsive on the court. It’s light and comfortable, but I think all the colourways and patterns you can put onto the shoe are very fun.

Do you have a favourite PE so far?
To be honest, the sign language one was my favourite – it was very customisable. I love working with the deaf community. I took sign language in high school for them to be able to put some signing on the shoe to make it a certain colourway and make it clean.


We’re in Chicago, so what first comes to mind when you think about Chicago basketball? What resonates with you?
Toughness and resilience, and guys that just know how to hoop. When you think of people who came out of Chicago, they’re just pure hoopers. You put them in any situation, and they know how to play basketball. I think that going around the city, talking to the youth and seeing the brand of basketball that comes out of Chicago definitely resonates.

While we’re on the topic, Joe Freshgoods and New Balance have a great collaborative relationship. Are you two eventually going to link up? Is that something that’s potentially in the works?
You never know, man. Me and Joe are really cool. I’m glad he’s from the city and that New Balance have colabed with him. I’m in the city, and to have New Balance be such a cultural thing here, I think it has been taking over in Chicago. It’s really fun to be a part of it.


As far as off the court goes, what’s always by the door? What are your go-to sneakers?
The 550s, 990s, 2002Rs, the Protection Packs. I think those are my go-tos – they’re comfortable.


Are you very particular about your performance basketball shoes? Are you wear-testing stuff, sending it back, and giving New Balance some feedback? Or is it just ‘I need something comfortable’?
They do a great job with that. I’m somebody that likes to test my shoes out first, see what needs to be adjusted and what doesn’t. Whether the midsole needs to be a bit stiffer or the heel cap needs to be raised, whatever it may be, [New Balance] do such a good job creating the shoe that fits for me –  so I can perform at the highest level.

What’s the most important thing to you in a performance basketball shoe?
Man, the most important thing for me, I’ll probably say traction. The type of player I am, I make a lot of jumps and cuts, and I move so much on the court, so I think that’s the most important thing to me.

Last question. If New Balance gave you an opportunity to put your own spin on an off-court shoe, what would it be?
There’s been a lot of colabs with the 550s, so I think that would be cool, but I would want to do something different. My current favourite shoe is the 2002R, so I’d probably do something with them.

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