Everybody loves Chris. No, I’m not talking about that ill fated TV show based on Chris Rock’s childhood. Let me rephrase that. Everybody loves Nightwing2303. Am I getting through to you now? Yes? Good, that’s what I thought! For the very few who still have no idea about who I’m talking about, I’m talking about everyone’s favorite sneaker performance reviewer, the man behind the popular KicksOnCourt.com and NightWing2303 Youtube Channel. He actually reviews basketball sneakers for what they are originally intended for – to use on a basketball court. I had the pleasure of reaching out to Chris and picking his brain.
1. Your website is an important source of performance reviews for sneakers we all wear and love. What was your inspiration to start up KicksOnCourt.com?
Initially, the site was just an additional outlet for me to fill viewers in on more performance details and information not found in the performance review videos I had created for YouTube. I created the First Impressions on performance sneakers along with throwing in a couple of Performance Teasers – all prior to the full review – just to give people something while I’m testing the sneaker(s). Just this year (2012) the site sort of took on a life of its own by providing people with more than just the reviews.
Since then, I decided to take advantage of this small niche and give basketball players everywhere a place to not only receive performance information but also news on new products, basketball product reviews and most importantly, somewhere for them to communicate with each other.
2. In your opinion, in the last 5 years, has the lifestyle of wearing sneakers casually grown larger than wearing sneakers for performance reasons like basketball or training or has it stayed the same?
As of now, shoes are looked at more as a fashion statement than a performance shoe. The overall goal here is to bring things back to basics and teach people that these are basketball shoes above all else. Some transition well off court, like the Air Jordan models, but above all else, they are basketball shoes.
I can’t really say if this type of thing has increased within the last five years or not just because I remember it being this way while growing up. You can say that the mentality of the new age consumer is geared more toward the logic that these shoes are manufactured and produced for style rather than function but overall, LeBron’s, Kobe’s, KD’s etc.- they’re all basketball shoes and not dress shoes.
3. The Nightwing2303 youtube channel has grown to almost 25,000 subscribers and over 4 million video views. How important has that medium been in channeling your content and message to your readership?
If you would have told me back in 2009, when I made my first performance review video, that it would have turned out to where people look at me as if I’m some sort of icon or figure then I would have laughed at you. I honestly can’t believe things are the way they are right now but I enjoy it and appreciate the support from all the viewers over the years. Without them then none of this would be happening right now. No website, no videos and no interview, no Nightwing2303. The website was just a spin-off of the YouTube Channel and it has evolved more than I had anticipated.
What the entire experience has taught me and proved to an entire generation of kids is that there still are people that buy shoes just to play ball. There aren’t many of us out there compared to the Retro or Lifestyle generated ‘Sneakerheads’ but we are still around.
4. Hypothetically, you are in situation where you have to leave all your sneakers behind except for 5 that you can take with you. What would those 5 shoes be?
White/Cement IV, Black/Cement IV, Concord XI, Original Jumpman Pro & the Jumpman Team Pro iD my wife made for me of Fathers Day.
5. What do you think the evolution of sneakers and sneaker culture will be in the next 10 years?
Not sure, it can either continue to escalate the way it has been or it will prove to be a fad once the younger generation begins to take on other interests. When I was in school there were the cool kids with the latest Air Jordan and they thought they were the freshest thing on the planet. Fast forward to present day and most of them don’t hoop anymore, don’t own any Jordan’s and could care less about sneakers in general. The only thing that has really changed is the fact that more people know about the culture.
All I can do is just stay focused on what got me into this ‘culture’, the game of Basketball. If I didn’t play ball then there would never had been a need for me to get a pair of sneakers. For me, and many other ball players, sneakers served a purpose and that purpose wasn’t to look fresh… it was because I wanted to fly.
Midwest Sole would like to thank Chris for his time and be sure to check out KicksOnCourt.com, subscribe to his NightWing2303 channel on Youtube, follow him on twitter at @NightWing2303 and instagram at @NightWing2303.