Rip Hamilton cemented his rightful place in the annals of Detroit sports history. During his tenure at Motor City from 2002 to 2011, he was a three-time NBA All-Star that helped the Pistons lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2005 and advance to another final the following year. And who could forget his signature face mask that he wore as a piece of combat armor long after a facial wound healed? It wasn’t just the mask though. Rip’s shoe rotation on the pitch was also still there, thanks to his status as a member of Team Jordan, and consisted of many colorways exclusive to players of Air Jordan models like the 2, 5, 12 and beyond.
Given his fan-favorite status in Detroit and his impressive sneaker resume, it’s no surprise that Hamilton was approached by eBay to help open their hard-to-find gift shop on Michigan Avenue on weekends. last end. The two-day pop-up experience was aimed at making it easier for local shoppers to purchase coveted and limited sneakers this holiday season. Popular models like Air Jordan 1, Nike Dunks and Adidas Yeezys were all up for grabs. Rarer releases such as “Freddy Krueger” Nike SB Dunk Lows or Kanye West Bapestas were also on sale. There was even a display of the 50 Off-White x Nike Dunk Lows. The curation was aided by the founder of the Urban Necessities sneaker store, Jaysse Lopez.
“I think with all of the supply chain disruptions we have during the holiday season, it’s getting harder and harder for people to find the gifts they want to give,” says CEO of ‘Garry Thaniel sneakers eBay. Future pop-ups are also planned for Houston and Miami in December. Thaniel hints that these holiday season activations are the start of many other community-building experiences eBay will be rolling out across the country over the coming months. “We wanted to create the hard to find gift shop to give people the ability to find these truly rare and unique gifts. “
Lopez and Hamilton were both in attendance for the store’s opening on November 19. Hamilton, a sneaker game veteran, said it was the perfect move to align with the city. After all, sneakers are at the top of many young children’s holiday wish lists these days. However, he admits he’s not surprised that sneakers have become such an important commodity with increasingly younger crowds.
“As kids, it all depended on what you had on your feet, right,” says Hamilton. “I just think access is a lot different than ever. You know, all the used sites, the consignment market, and the people who make it more of a business than anything else. But I love this. I appreciate.”
We were lucky enough to catch up with Hamilton on Zoom while he was at eBay’s hard-to-find sneaker store in Detroit on Friday afternoon. The Pistons legend discussed eBay’s search to find his Grail sneakers, told us which of his Air Jordan PEs he’d like to see released, his take on the 2004-2005 Pistons’ ability to compete with the NBA’s today, and more.