New Mitchell & Ness Creative Director Don C on the Power of Return, Working with the Bulls, and Learning from Virgil Abloh

Virgil has been honored in a variety of ways since his death 16 months ago, but the Bulls wore a collaboration suit with Off-White in Paris—where is that ranking?

It’s special to me because it’s presented through the lens of what I love—sports. But even when I’m talking to the CEO, Andrea [Grilli] from Off-White he said you don’t understand how much reference Virgil would use from Bulls and MJ and how much influence it would have on his design ethos because it’s such a big part of the his past and growing up history. fan. I don’t think a kid growing up in the ’90s wouldn’t be influenced by Michael Jordan and the Bulls. Good or bad.

Is there a lesson Virgil has taught you more effectively than any other?

Absolute. He encouraged me to welcome others into the process. I’ve been shut down – it’s a Chicago mentality. Virgil really encouraged me to welcome others—for example, Listen to what this person has to say. So that’s an important thing that I will always cherish among so many things.

I know you’re an MJ guy. I know you’re great with LeBron James too. Did LeBron becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer earlier this month make you re-evaluate, even slightly, the GOAT debate?

You know, to me there’s no debate about GOAT, with where I come from. But here’s the credit I want to give LeBron: He’s absolutely the greatest of this generation and he should be proud to be LeBron James. Comparison is the robbery of joy. Let’s celebrate his present moment. Let’s not talk about Michael Jordan right now. Let’s celebrate LeBron’s moment. So that’s what I just recommended. We are seeing greatness happening right now and I believe that when it comes to longevity he is redefining it, playing at such a high level in his career. [20th] year. Surprised. I don’t think we’ve seen anything like it in any sport. I just want to continue to applaud him, man, and his longevity is putting him at number 1 in every category.

Did you watch the NBA All-Star game?

Yes, I did.

Is there a way to fix it, or at least improve it from a stylish lens? Because from a competitive standpoint, it’s broken.

Absolute. My suggestion is that we need to pay more attention to the details of the jerseys and the boots. Just like in the mid-’90s – ’95 and ’96 to be exact – the uniforms of the NBA All-Star Games were at their peak. San Antonio, and the year before that in Phoenix, were on a whole different level. In Phoenix, it was inspired by a southwest theme, and when it came to San Antonio, it was inspired by a carnival, Texas theme. Now we need to be more inspired by the city. Next year in Indianapolis, I want to see if it’s racing-inspired or something. Something that is key to the All-Star culture. And that’s what I didn’t like about the pre-match draft. We don’t have the jerseys ahead of time. We don’t know what they will wear. I also want to encourage Nike to stop making heat press shirts. I think people like to sew. Now, Nike will say innovation is the reason, but I like, come on, man. We love the stitched shirts. Numbers and marks, everything needs to be stitched together. That’s what I really want to see.


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