About the Art
“One of the first pair of sneakers I wanted to make sure was part of the Art of the Sole series was the Shaq Attaq, his first signature shoe. Part of it was nostalgia. Seeing the pump brings me back to being a kid. Growing up in the 90’s it seemed like every kid was either wearing a pair of Jordans or a pair of Reebok Pumps. I was no exception – I had to have both. The other reason was that Shaq was a force of nature. Not only was his talent unmatched, his larger than life personality made him a joy to watch. I wanted to translate that in one of my paintings and what better way to symbolize his larger than life personality than to take his size 22 shoe and represent that in a large scale painting.
Although not the original from ‘92, the sneaker presented in the painting is a retro from 2017. Reebok did a great job replicating the original sneaker as well as the accompanied hangtag. I found a dead stock pair on EBay and quickly bought it. I then photographed it in my studio from every angle. Ultimately, I chose to use only 1 sneaker and showcase it from the side with just enough of an angle for the pump, featured on the tongue, to be in plain sight.
I recently reached out to Shaq’s team with the idea to create a limited edition run of this painting and have Shaq sign each one, with proceeds going to his foundation. We decided to create an edition of 32 prints, representing his Jersey # with Orlando. Each print measures 25”x33” and is signed and numbered by both myself and Shaq. A % of the net profits will go to the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation”
About the Sneakers
The Shaq Attaq 1 was originally released in 1992. With hype surrounding Shaq’s entrance into the NBA and his dominant game to back it up, Shaq was quickly rewarded with his first signature shoe deal with Reebok. At the time, Reebok was an unproven upstart in the basketball sneaker market.
Reebok designer Judy Close was tasked with the challenge of creating a unique shoe, as Reebok wanted it’s first NBA signature shoe to stand out and function to handle the wear-and-tear it would receive from O’Neal’s play.
Reebok turned to its running shoe department for inspiration. A few years ahead of the Air Jordan XI, which is often credited as being the first basketball shoe to feature a carbon fiber support shank, the Shaq Attaq utilized Reebok’s Graphlite plate for extra support in the midfoot. This technology provided stability and strength to handle O’Neal’s size while maintaining the shoes light weight. The pair also featured a leather and suede upper and the brand’s featured Pump technology on the tongue, for a customized fit and feel.
“The key to this shoe in terms of functional was the great fit and comfort, that’s why the two corporate technologies were included, being the Pump bladder that was also used in other basketball shoes and the newly created graphite shank that was originally in running shoes and now was through the forefoot,” Close said. “That allowed us to remove more foam in the midsole and open up making the shoe lighter weight, knowing the graphite would allow someone like Shaquille to play in the shoe and not have it collapse. So we certainly had to consider all of his movement, side-to-side, forward, in addition to the aesthetic parameters.”
The sneaker was originally released in only two colorways, utilizing the team’s home and away colors – The Shaq Attaq “Orlando” and The Shaq Attaq “Away.” Both rereleased for the first time in 2013. For it’s 25th anniversary, The “Orlando” colorway were released again in 2017, shortly after Shaq returned to the brand.