Words: Tahirah Hairston

Photos: @DiwangValdez

One year ago, Maya Moore and Aleali May met and spoke about the importance of women’s sports and sneaker culture at the launch of the new Jordan Women’s line in New York City. They highlighted their favorite Air Jordans — the Air Jordan X for Maya and the Air Jordan I for Aleali — and shared their own versions of the two silhouettes.

Their meeting that day inspired a new collaboration, the women’s-specific Maya Moore x Aleali May Court Lux Collection. Inspired by elements from their individual backgrounds, as well as a desire to bridge basketball and fashion, both shoes represent the greatness of these women in their respective fields. The collection features high-quality, color-blocked suede and personal details, including a removable fur tongue on the AJI and Maya’s logo on the AJX. Both shoes include Maya’s favorite color, Bordeaux, in addition to Light Armory Blue, Concord and Rush Red, and come with Black and Light Armory Blue laces.

Maya, as a four-time league champion, three-time All-Star MVP, two-time Finals MVP and two-time gold medalist, has been achieving greatness since she took her first step on the court, at three years old, in her hometown of Jefferson City, Missouri. Aleali, as a model, stylist and creative bridging street and luxury culture, has done the same ever since her elementary school days, when she’d pair her school uniform with Air Jordans from the swap meet.

As Jordan Brand family, Maya, 29, and Aleali, 26, have broken barriers in sport and culture — Maya as the first female basketball player to sign with the brand and Aleali as the first woman to release a unisex Air Jordan. Maya has had over 15 player exclusive Air Jordans (four of which went to retail), and this year, she made history by re-creating MJ’s iconic 1989 “Wings” advertisement. Aleali’s Air Jordan I marked the first time a woman has designed an AJI, and it was well-received globally.

Below, Maya and Aleali describe how the collaboration came together and what it means to them.

Aleali May

“I grew up around the time that skateboarding and hip-hop culture were colliding with basketball. It was during that specific time that I was finding my own personal style. For the Court Lux Air Jordan I, Maya and I wanted to bring together these elements from the past, as well as our respective fields, and show how well it all co-exists. For the Air Jordan X, we wanted to make sure that it resonated with basketball but also had fashion appeal. Both shoes were us meeting in the middle and figuring out how to make them fashionable but still look ready for the court.

“Representation is important. I was always the young girl trying to find a young woman who I wanted to be or look like. When you see girls who are like you, you feel more comfortable knowing that you can achieve your dreams, too. Maya inspires me in the way she moves on and off the court. She sets the tone and kills it without being loud about it. She’s pushing for a lot of women not just in basketball, but in sports, in general. Maya was part of the Jumpman team before I was; she opened up the door for me, too.

“Jordan Women’s is really about providing girls with these amazing silhouettes, as well as new materials that the boys don’t get. There are so many women who have told me, ‘I never bought Air Jordans until now.’ We have great people to help keep the brand going. This is going to be a long-term thing.”

Maya Moore

“At the heart of Jordan brand is a ‘team spirit.’ Part of MJ’s legacy is the way he helped others rise around him. We all look up to people and are influenced by others. Having talented women be a part of his brand to design great sneakers is a powerful way to continue the legacy of the brand.

“I’m excited that Aleali and I get to not only model excellence in our unique crafts, but that we get to model the spirit of being excellent together and celebrating each other’s excellence. Aleali is a great designer, and it is a privilege to be around her in her element! We both have drive, and I think we have a unique spirit about us. We are very passionate about our roots and never forget where we come from. We share a high work ethic, we pay attention to detail and we are willing to take risks to be great.

“It gives my heart so much satisfaction to know that this collection was made with women in mind. Yes, Jordans are Jordans, and almost anyone can rock them, but our experience as women is elevated when our product has been tailored for us! It speaks volumes when you know someone took the time to make something especially for you, and I hope ladies around the world feel this!”

The Maya Moore x Aleali May Court Lux Air Jordan I and Maya Moore x Aleali May Air Jordan X are available starting December 22 at select retailers in North America and globally on SNKRS. The following retailers in North America will carry both the AJI and AJX: Extra Butter (NYC), A Ma Maniere (Atlanta), RSVP Gallery (Chicago), Jumpman LA and Undefeated (Los Angeles) and Nordstrom x Nike (Seattle).

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