Pioneering a court fit in 95, the Air Jordan 11 silhouette has always been a credible and unique sighted silhouette within the Jordan lineage. The sleek and memorable shoes that owns its stand-out style is under the creative visionary of iconic Nike designer Tinker Hatfield. Whether it is gracing the basketball courts, paired with a tracksuit ensemble, or even its unconventional wearings with a suit, the Jordan 11’s are legendary in subverting its own burrowing style making it a quintessential for style inspiration.
A synonymous Michael Jordan favourite, the Jordan 11 holds undeniable history. Returning after a short-lived departure from the Chicago Bulls franchise, Michael Jordan’s courtly appearance in 1995 saw the first benign sightings of the distinctive ‘11’s in a full-fledged, primal “concord” colourings of white and black.
This year marks 20 years following the debut of the ‘Cool’ Grey colourway and since then, the ‘OG Cool’ Grey iteration has become an unrivalled favourite. The newest rendition to the Jordan roster, is the Nike Air Jordan 11 ‘Cool Grey’. On offer, a distinctive patent leather overlays upper in a darker tone, infused with a nubuck leather that indulges a soft ‘Cool’ grey tone, whilst the signature Jumpman logo is meticulously embroidered on the collar. The court to street fit further rocks a thick lace closure for added durability, rounded off with an translucent icy blue insole for added cushioning and support.
Sporting it’s voluntary influence in everyday life, Footpatrol have teamed up with Hoops B4 Work in a campaign showcasing the upcoming launch of the ‘Cool Grey’ Air Jordan 11 collection and it’s unrivalled influence that shoes has on physical activity.
Hoops B4 Work is a community of basketball enthusiasts that aim to re-engage individuals who have a passion for the game as well as developing healthy long life habits to be active, increasing their mental well-being. The Clapham-based basketball community provides access to their basketball through their unique coaching sessions that deliver between 6.30-7.45am as a gym alternative, uplifting your mood and preparing you for the work day. The bespoke classes are tailored to fit your needs and lifestyle, supporting players of all levels.
At Footpatrol we had the pleasure of featuring co-founder of sneaker sisterhood and b-ball fanatic Giulia Zed and coach Ruth in a captivating photoshoot concept. We catch up with them to discuss the trainer’s sporting influence.
Footpatrol: We start off all our interviews by asking, how are you ?
Coach Ruth: I am fine Bradley, how are you doing?
FP: I am good thank you. I must admit I don’t get asked that all the time on the other side of the interviews, thank you! Well, Coach Ruth we have heard so many amazing things about you, only positives of course. For those that haven’t had the pleasure to have met you yet, could you give us a bit of an insight as to who you are and what you do.
Coach Ruth: My name is Coach Ruth and I am the founder of Hoops B4 Work, an adult basketball session that runs 6.30 in the morning to 7.30, 3 days a week.
FP: Could you give us a bit of an insight of how your love for basketball started?
Coach Ruth: I started playing basketball when I was 11 at secondary school and continued to when I was about 20, I am not going to tell you how old I am now. But I still play , my kids play and I coach women , adults, men, children and I just love the game, what it brings to people’s lives and the social aspect of it most importantly.
FP: Over all the years you have been playing starting from 11 to present day coaching, how do you see basketball and the culture around it affect London as a city?
Coach Ruth: I just think basketball gives people an opportunity to meet new people from different backgrounds, mainly females. It brings smaller communities together but also grows the wider communities across the borough.
FP: Have you seen more opportunities arise over the years with basketball?
Coach Ruth: Yeah, I think there are more opportunities for anybody to play basketball. You can go to any borough in London and find an indoor court, an outdoor court. There’s more opportunities for females in the game to coach, to play, to referee but basketball has grown across the whole and there’s different elements you can get involved in.
FP: Obviously we are here to focus on Hoops B4 Work and everything that you do behind it, can we get a little insight as to what made you want to start Hoops B4 Work?
Coach Ruth: Hoops B4 Work was started for two different reasons. One because I was a referee and I was getting abused by players that didn’t really understand the game but wanted to learn the game but their frustration was coming out because they didn’t understand the rules. The other one was that my son kept waking me up at 6 o’clock in the morning asking to go coach him in the court, so I was like well there is a shortage of availability of courts, so why not teach people that want to play and then my son could go to that. He could have people to play with, also I could help people learn the game.
FP: How have you seen it bringing people together and as you said across multiple different backgrounds affect people physically and mentally? Have you seen a positive change?
Coach Ruth: Yeah, the people that come to my sessions are aimed at those that used to play in school, university and college.The social aspects that improve in their skills development but also creating a behaviour change. It is about packing your bags the night before, improving mental health, getting people to have a fun time but also improving their basketball skills at the same time.
FP: Would you like to keep Hoops B4 Work an London based organisation? Or one day would you like to see it grow nationwide?
Coach Ruth: I would love to see it grow worldwide, getting more people playing from whichever country you are in, whichever time zone you are in and just get people playing the game, whatever level both male and female. Just really growing the game to a next level.
FP: To sign everything off, is there anything you would like to share to Footpatrol readers, listeners, the lot whether that would be something to get them excited for, a message of positivity, anything.
Coach Ruth: I think Hoops B4 Work caters for all, we just did a female focused tournament which I am so proud about. We are getting more women playing, more female refs, videographers but also catering for the men as well. We do mix tournaments, if you are interested in playing whether you are a beginner, an elite person or whether you want to get involved with coaching just come down to Hoops B4 Work, we’ve got something for everyone.
FP: Coach Ruth, what does basketball mean to you ?
Coach Ruth :That’s a great question, I just love the game, I love meeting new people and teaching people. I love seeing people grow and develop their confidence, I do it everyday so it is a part of my DNA. When people say that it is actually something that I love doing, it is not about payment, it is not about the hours put in, it is about the end product and how you see people develop and grow on and off the court. That is both for adults and kids.
FP: Let’s talk about the need for the community in London, the community that Hoops B4 Work brings, what kind of transformations have you seen in people building that community?
Coach Ruth: Hoops B4 Work has built a wider community in Basketball. One of the oldest people to come in was 65, the youngest person has been 18. Once you see people develop you even have some of the wives saying to me ‘wow their partner has transformed and improved, they have lost weight, they are in a better mental state.’ It is just about giving people an opportunity to play. At 6.30 in the morning the courts are free, so you are never going to get an obstacle, the only obstacle is you getting out of bed. Other than that it is an environment that is welcoming, any ability can come to Hoops we’ll teach you and help you grow.
FP: Let’s talk a little bit more about the importance of growing the women’s side of the game. Firstly, why is there a need for improving the women’s game and how are you going about it?
Coach Ruth: My passion is to improve women’s access to basketball. There is a lack of opportunity for women to play in the game but I am about to change that and create a female focused environment where women feel empowered, where women support other women and we are on a journey together. It can’t be done alone, if there are any females out there that want to get involved, you don’t have to be able to play, it could be through administration, coaching or it could just be I want to give it a go. My passion is to create further opportunities. I have a son that plays, a daughter that plays both that don’t have the same path but eventually one day, both of them will have the same path.
FP: How does the Jordan brand and Hoops B4 Work merge?
Coach Ruth: The Jordan brand and the Hoops B4 Work are both community based initiatives. Our aim is to grow the community and build the community. We both have similar ethoses and it is about creating opportunities for all. Whatever background you come from, gender you are, it is about how we can build a wider community from basketball.
FP: I would originally say that basketball is more of an American game played in big stadiums but you get kids going down in cages playing, is there a big community of basketball in London?
Coach Ruth: Yeah
FP: Let’s talk a little bit about that and how you play your part in the community and how Hoops B4 Work bridges that gap between people who want to get into playing but don’t really know how to approach playing, as it can be a little bit intimidating approaching a team. Tell me a little bit about bridging that gap of understanding and getting people into the game in the city
Coach Ruth: Basketball within London is really growing, I set up Hoops B4 Work to try and get a new target audience and to grow the game. But to also grow the community, if you are new to basketball you wouldn’t want to go to a new team. It is quite intimidating playing for or going to a session that already has players that play. What we do is try and open the doors to anybody, whether you have played before, whether you have got experience but also just to build a basketball community. To feed that into the young people that I coach. It is about creating opportunities whether you are male or female, an older adult with experience in school. I had somebody last week that joined, that had not played in over 20 years and they were nervous. I met them downstairs and as soon as you come into Hoops B4 Work everyone has to introduce my ethoses, everyone has to say hello to everybody and if you don’t you get press ups. It is about creating that open door policy.
FP: One thing more about me is the discipline, getting up when it’s cold outside, it’s dark, getting up, getting out there and getting to and it can feel hard in the moment but like you are going to feel great afterwards. So re-establishing people’s routine and discipline through the manifestation of the game.
Coach Ruth: Hoops B4 Work is about creating behaviour change , about people’s mindset and how they would prepare for work. It is the same thing through basketball, setting your kit the night before, getting your work clothes ready the night before it is hard, 6.30 in the morning especially for those that like to sleep. I’ve got a player that sets her alarm four, five times and still asks some of the players to wake her up. But once you are there it doesn’t seem like 6.30, the environment changes, for about 10 minutes it is 6.30 in the morning but once that goes the environments are high fives, there’s laughter, there’s oh no coach no more running please. But the environment is a positive environment and it is designed to make people have the right start to their day and to create a positive attribute to their life but also teaching them a new skill, which is a life skill, basketball is not just a game it is a lifestyle skill. It is more than just a game guys.