Early Tuesday morning, former Duke star Zion Williamson made all the headlines as the Jordan Brand announced the second year pro’s first signature shoe, the Zion 1.
The rising superstar, who signed with Jordan Brand in July 2019 shortly after being drafted first overall by the New Orleans Pelicans, becomes the first Generation-Z athlete in the label’s storied history and just the second player to unveil a signature Jordan sneaker at 20 years old, Carmelo Anthony the other. Already an All-Star player in just his second year at the professional level, the announcement would seem to usher in a younger era of basketball stardom led by Williamson.
This “younger era” is an important theme for the Zion 1, which features a sleek, modernized design carefully crafted by Williamson and Jordan to fit the Spartanburg, S.C., native’s vision. Each shoe is brandished with a large “Z” icon for the lateral side design—partially inspired by the generational talent’s love of superheroes, especially Batman—and is tailored to Williamson’s skill set by imitating the Air Jordan 34, his footwear of choice throughout his rookie season.
While fans will only see one black and white colorway titled “Gen Zion” available Tuesday, the sneaker will include three other schemes as well, titled “ZNA,” “Marion” and “Noah,” the last of which is a tribute to Williamson’s younger brother, who doodled a similar design on a pair of Jordan 1s when the Duke product first visited the Nike campus. Each colorway will be released individually through May.
Williamson already had a long history with Nike before signing with Jordan Brand in 2019. The night before committing to Duke in January 2018, Williamson notably opted for a pair of red Air Jordan 1s in a break with his Adidas-sponsored high school team, and Blue Devil fans are sure to remember when the eventual Naismith Player of the Year burst through a model of Paul George’s signature shoe just moments into a matchup against rivals North Carolina. Nike then specially modified a pair of Kyrie 4s for Williamson to use in the ACC tournament, perhaps signaling the beginning of a fruitful relationship.
Williamson is set to debut the Zion 1 Tuesday evening against the Brooklyn Nets.
Get Overtime, all Duke athletics
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.