NBA players mourn death of designer Virgil Abloh, whose sneakers lit up the court

Russell Westbrook mourns the loss of Off-White designer Virgil Abloh
(@russwest44, NBA Getty Images)

The world is in mourning today following the news of the death of iconic designer Virgil Abloh, who passed away after a long battle with cancer.

The 41-year-old was an instrumental figure in streetwear, becoming the first Black creative director for Louis Vuitton and changing sneaker culture with his signature "Off-White" kicks.

Abloh's presence in the sports world was huge, especially in the NBA with multiple players rocking his signature sneakers in games.

In 2020, the NBA entered a partnership with Louis Vuitton, with Abloh designing a variety of capsules crossing over the luxury brand with the league's identity, including a bespoke LV case for the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Russell Westbrook led the tributes for the influential designer, with several players and teams taking to social media to offer their condolences.

A post shared by Russell Westbrook (@russwest44)

Clippers star Paul George spoke to the media following their game against the Warriors, describing Abloh as 'one of a kind' with his impact on culture.

"A pioneer for our generation, the young generation," George said. "He just created a wave of young African Americans, young men, and women of color, to bridge the gap. Especially with something as big as Nike and the fashion world. He was just one of a kind and definitely opened up the doors for a lot of up-and-coming designers. He deserves his flowers. It's unfortunate."

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames)

Over the years Abloh's sneakers have been a staple on the court for some of the league's fashion-forward players, including P.J. Tucker, Jordan Clarkson and Montrezl Harrell.

Let's look back at some of the most iconic Off-White's we've seen grace the hardwood over the years.

Montrezl Harrell

Last week against the Charlotte Hornets, Harrell broke out the Off-White Jordan 1s.

Jordan Clarkson

In 2017, while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Clarkson rocked the Off-White x Nike React Hyperdunk.

Russell Westbrook

In 2018, Russell Westbrook arrived for a playoff game against the Utah Jazz in the Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh Converse Chuck Taylor.

Devin Booker

Devin Booker's sneaker game is on another level, frequently rocking a string of different Kobe PEs, but the Phoenix Suns guard has frequently been on-court wearing some of Abloh's designs.

In 2018, he rocked the Off-White Converse Chuck 70.

In 2017, against the Los Angeles Lakers, Booker was getting buckets in the Off-White Hyperdunks

PJ Tucker

There was no bigger supporter of Virgil Abloh's designs in the NBA than sneaker King P.J. Tucker, who has just about every sneaker in his rotation.

Even the Off-White x Nike Air Max 90.

In 2020, Tucker hit the floor at Madison Square Garden in the Off-White Jordan V!

In 2017, Tucker rocked Off-White Air Jordan 1.

During the 2020 NBA Finals, Tucker debuted a pair of custom Jordan 1s designed by the Shoe Surgeon and jeweller, Jason of Beverly Hills, who remixed the Off-White 1's into a diamond-encrusted work of art.

Even Giannis Antetokounmpo couldn't believe it.

A post shared by JASON OF BEVERLY HILLS (@jasonofbeverlyhills)

The $250,000 sneakers are a one of one for Tucker.

A post shared by P.J. Tucker Sneakers (@pjtuckersneakers)

While playing for the Houston Rockets, the NBA's sneaker king broke out a pair of Abloh's Nike Hyperdunk sneakers, customized by The Shoe Surgeon.

Abloh's version came in white, but Tucker added the red colourway to go with his Houston uniform.

A post shared by P.J. Tucker (@pjtucker)

Abloh's influence on NBA fashion was immense and his life and art will live on through his designs.

Rest in Peace.

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