Sole Theory Talks Jordans with 2K Sports

Just like the 2011 NBA Playoffs we’re winding down on our 25 days of Jordan feature here at Sole Theory. As sneaker heads first and basketball gamers second (Anyone remember Bulls Vs. Lakers or Jordan Vs. Bird?) we thought it would be an added bonus to our readers to get some insight on the Air Jordan Collection included in NBA 2K11.

Now if you haven’t played NBA 2K11 by 2K Sports, first off shame on you; secondly you’re definitely missing out. This year’s version brought His Airness and his greatest moments back to the digital hard court and most importantly (for us) he brought along his Jordan Brand kicks as well. After a thunderous game at our Sole Theory office where I led Ray Allen and the mighty Boston Celtics over our intern’s woeful NY Knicks we unlocked one of the Jordan sneakers. Unlocking the shoe peaked our interest so we caught up with Erick Boenisch, producer at Visual Concepts for NBA 2K11 to get the scoop.

a Jordan shoe that the folks at Jordan never actually released into the retail market.

KL: Where did the idea of including the Air Jordans in NBA 2K11 come from?

EB: When His Airness was officially signed on to be the face of 2K11, we knew we needed to craft a feature set around him that not only honored what he meant to the NBA, but also what he meant to the culture of basketball. Pretty much the entire development team grew up in the “Jordan Era”. His kicks were a huge part of our upbringing, and we really just wanted to highlight that aspect of Michael. We were incredibly proud that each and every Jordan silhouette made an appearance in the game.

KL: Our readers want to know, was the design team fortunate enough to receive samples of all 40 pairs of Jordans?

EB: For the purposes of recreating the shoes in the game, yes we received ‘samples’ to create the hi-res imagery. Now, before your readers get too jealous, they should know that we were simply sent ‘samples’ of each shoe. These shoes were the exact models of the shoes without any coloring on them. All of the shoes were (the color) grey, down to every last detail. This enables us to more accurately create the proper colorways for the shoes.

KL: Each shoe is equipped with a bonus/points attribute to enhance a player’s skill level. How was this calculated/determined?

EB: This is something we worked with the team at Jordan on. They wanted the performance of the shoe to accurately resemble the story behind the shoe, and/or what it meant for Jordan at that point in his career. Some of his earlier shoes obviously carry the athleticism bonuses. While some of his later career shoes increase your skills (shooting, dribbling) when wearing them.

KL: The “Create a Jordan” bonus within my player (Career) mode allows players to create their own Jordan’s, how much detail went into this feature?

EB: The model of the shoe that is used for the signature shoe creation is actually a Jordan shoe that the folks at Jordan never actually released into the retail market. For our game, this gave it a credible sense of authenticity, and for your readers, a great little Easter egg that’s never been released.

Well there you have it. Some sneaker insight into what is being called the greatest basketball game ever made. I personally think that the inclusion of the Air Jordans had something to do with it but that’s just my opinion. Thanks to Erick Boenisch for giving us some great insight into the game. We look forward to covering and seeing what’s in store for next year’s version. Now back to schooling our intern in his much demanded rematch.

Get caught up on the 25 days of Jordan here:

NBA 2K11 is in stores now and is available on all major consoles (PS2, Xbox 360, Wii). For more information on the game please visit the NBA 2K11 website at

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Sole Theory is a sneaker lifestyle guide that explores the social impact of the sneaker culture. Users can expect to gain insight on recent trends, historic brands and signature styles that have heavily influenced the shoe industry. Content will be driven by articles, interviews and reviews that will uncover interesting facts and stories that have rarely been told.