LeBron 19

A Space Jam-worth cushioning system designed around a basketball shoe, an extreme metaphor for LeBron James’ exceptional smooth playing when the stakes are high and the game heats up.

Over more than a decade, LeBron James became a dominant force in the NBA and fundamentally redefined the game with his unique skill set and versatility. LeBron can proficiently play multiple positions and contribute to scoring, rebounding, as well as offensive and defensive plays.

That’s why Nike partnered with this basketball legend to design a technical shoe that could enhance his outstanding abilities on the court. And here comes our interpretation of this performing product, capable of harnessing LeBron’s energy with a secure fit and an updated cushioning system.


Due to his above-average physical features, LeBron James is the typical resourceful player able to jump above the rim and finish off spectacular dunks, as well as block shots from opposing players. His type of play led to a career filled with accomplishments, very similar to Michael Jordan’s. For these reasons, he is the only player who currently embodies the concept of fluid playing.

We embraced the “play smooth” imperative, describing both the comfort of the product and the popular champion’s playing style.

From his early days as a high school phenom to his current status as an NBA superstar, LeBron James has continuously adapted and refined his game to remain at the pinnacle of basketball excellence. His evolution as a player is a testament to his dedication, versatility, and basketball IQ.

The champion and this shoe model are also featured in a famous sequel movie. “Space Jam: The Legacy” sees James star alongside a roster of Looney Tunes characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales.

LeBron’s popularity attracted Nike since the very beginning. When he inked his initial contract with the brand as a teenager, it was a groundbreaking seven-year agreement valued at 90 million dollars. Following the expiration of this deal, the basketball icon and Nike reached an extraordinary agreement unprecedented in the industry: a lifetime partnership.

This lifelong commitment is said to bring the King a staggering annual sum of 30 million dollars, with the overall contract rumored to exceed a billion dollars. It’s widely speculated that LeBron’s signature line, encompassing footwear and apparel, generates upwards of $600 million in revenue for Nike annually.


The basketball world is not just about dribbles, leaps, and shots: it is about practice, it is about attitude.

The “play smooth” concept has been stressed to the very limit. We pictured a shoe with a never-ending sole for infinite playing comfort, introducing a mental range of materials, mixing silicone rubber with steel, plastic with barbed wire, and gums with razors.

This marks the creation of some universal synthetic imagery, drawing inspiration from a hybrid constellation of elements hailing from diverse realms – ranging from the basketball court to hip-hop culture, from the streets to niche subcultures -, yet all united by an unmistakably bold and striking stylistic swagger.

Experiencing this film is like embarking on a hypnotic trip, from the shoe box to the Nike LeBron 19 model, picturing everything in between.

Vibrant chewing gums, translucent tooth braces, hefty inflatables, ’90s-era rubber piercings, technical jerseys, patterned sneaker soles, and shiny cages intertwine seamlessly with chain-link nets, transparent capsules, razor-sharp metal studs, brass knuckles, and haughty jewelry, just like the triumphant NBA championship rings.

It’s a harsh fusion where the softness of comfortable shoes blends with the hardness of the basketball game and competitiveness.

This journey is a seamless carousel of cushioning layers revealed piece by piece, composing a teeming tower. The basketball shoe gloriously stands at the very end of the pile, safely protected by the crazy hundreds of cushions beneath.

An intricate CG structure brings more than 100 layers to life.

From a technical standpoint, the foundational issue of this project has always been this: since the film is based on a single continuous shot, the initial problem was to define and practically design a way to easily handle a significant number of simulated layers to fit into a single 3D scene.

The entire structure is the meticulous result of a complex nested structure, where approximately a hundred 3D layers seamlessly interact with a diverse set of tiny, wiggling secondary elements. Overall, the CG shot features more than 2.5 TB of simulated cache to be stored on our servers, representing a substantial amount of data.

Zelig masterfully knows how to give the right audio boost to this basketball experience, with a touch of cocky urban culture.

The spot-on soundtrack of this film is a masterful production by Zelig. Highly inspired by the world of the NBA, it starts as a teeming mix of ambient synthesizers, bubbly fluids, and clinking metal sounds, building up a solid background crescendo for the tower to grow.

As the camera flies up, gradually revealing the hypnotizing pile of crazy cushions, a cocky rap beat takes over, spiced up by some recognizable basketball match sounds: a sportscaster shouts enthusiastically, while LeBron scores for the umpteenth time surrounded by the audience’s arousal.



Creative Director
Salvatore Giunta

Design & Development
Alessandro Nobile
Claudio Gasparollo
Matteo Nicoli
Mantas Bardauskas

Marco Serracca
Christian Cabiddu
Davide Rubini
Maria Grazia Di Giovannantonio
Giovanni Mauro

Irene Costantini
Noemi Bugli

Commercial: Zelig
Process: About that time – Dame D.O.L.L.A., G-Eazy, P-Lo and White Dave


Previous project
Integrated Tourbillon Full Carbon
Next project
Tourbillon SR_A