Rui Hachimura wears a size 17 shoe, more than enough space to help illustrate his unique family heritage and remarkable personal journey on a pair of basketball shoes.
Hachimura’s Air Jordan XXXV “Warrior” PE shoes launched Wednesday, featuring the classic black-and-red color scheme from Michael Jordan’s heyday and a logo designed by Hachimura’s mom, Makiko, on the tongue of the left shoe.
The former Gonzaga star’s rapid rise in basketball began when he was introduced to the sport at age 13. The son of a Japanese mother and Beninese father became a standout on Japanese youth national teams. He could barely speak any English when arrived at Gonzaga in 2016, but he blossomed into a first-round NBA draft pick after his junior year.
Hachimura’s XXXIV Heritage shoes were released earlier this year exclusively in his native Japan. The Warrior retails for $180.
“I grew up in a small town (Toyama) that’s six hours away from Tokyo,” Hachimura said in an article on AirJordan.com. “My family was the only Black family in the city. When I grew up and started playing basketball, I started to gain more respect but it was hard, especially for my brother and sisters. It was a different experience for us growing up.
“I love seeing my logo on it. It means Black Samurai. I grew up in Japan as a Black man and went through a lot of things. My logo is for my family and other mixed-race kids. I want to inspire those kids.”
Hachimura, 22, has a lengthy list of endorsement deals, including Casio, G-Shock, GOAT, Nissin Foods, NEC, NBA2K and Jordan Brand, as well as and Japanese companies SoftBank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
Forbes estimated Hachimura’s off-court earnings at nearly $10 million, within the top 12 of all NBA players. The 6-foot-8 forward’s salary with the Washington Wizards was $4.5 million.
Hachimura averaged 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in his junior season at Gonzaga. He averaged 13.5 points and 6.1 rebounds with the Washington Wizards this season and made the NBA All-Rookie second team.