The jump to a second signature shoe is a case study in player observation. For Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Zoom Freak 2 is built on identifying his most unstoppable moves and creating ways to make them even more effective.
“What Giannis does in space is directly connected to his body proportions,” says Ross Klein, Senior Creative Director for Nike Basketball. “What’s different about his movements is that he’s causing so much pressure when he hits those steps, like the Eurostep, that we need to help propel him and contain him further near the toe.”
Much of the story in Nike Basketball’s signature line history is based on studying signature movement (take the Kyrie 2, a shoe that was born from studying the intense, banked angles of Irving's cuts). Proportionately, Antetokounmpo is a unicorn, possessing the ability to control the ball like a guard and yet bruise his way into the lane with the physicality of a center. The combination of those two skill sets help make his secret sauce for the Eurostep, one of the most unbeatable moves in his arsenal.
Antetokounmpo’s mastery of the Eurostep begins with his ability to stride out to create space. His long limbs give the impression that he’s shrinking the court, and in a sense, that’s true: at full, open-court speed, he needs only a few dribbles to comfortably make it from basket to basket. The move starts on the “gather,” or the two steps after a player picks up the dribble. What happens next depends on the defender’s reaction. If defenders maintain their stance, Antetokounmpo moves straight ahead, outstepping them by clearing their open hips and getting past their upper bodies with his wide shoulders.
If a defender tries to cut off Antetokounmpo, the ensuing Eurostep — taking the two steps in different directions while transferring the ball across the body — often leaves the opponent behind, giving Antetokounmpo an easy dunk.
How the Shoe Unlocks His Play
The green / white Naija colorway of the Zoom Freak 2 releases in North America July 25 on nike.com and at select retailers. The black / white colorway releases August 7.
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