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There’s never a bad time to celebrate Allen Iverson’s impact on the world of basketball. His influence runs deep—occupying the culture-bending shared by one-name legends like Jordan, Kobe, and LeBron. With the nagging sense that we weren’t quite as celebratory as he could have been during his career (it’s high time we put the “Practice?” conversation to rest), basketball fans have become eager to re-valorize him every chance we get. Given that Iverson’s impact was just as big on the culture of hoops as on the way the game is played, it’s been fitting to see Reebok roll out the proverbial red carpet for his first signature sneaker, the Reebok Question, over the last year in celebration of the shoe’s 25th anniversary. As a result, the shoe has been in the sneaker spotlight in a way it hasn’t been in years.

It’s not exactly a left-field comeback. Reebok has kept the Question in steady rotation over time, releasing a couple of new colorways every year (and sometimes more, if the year contained notable moments like AI’s Hall of Fame induction). This year, however, the brand made the shoe one of the centerpieces of its line. New colorways and retros alike have dropped on a monthly basis, and sometimes more frequently than that. But it’s not the quantity of new releases that has made the Question’s anniversary year so potent. It’s what Reebok has done with those releases, theming many of them around Iverson’s career, his hobbies and eccentricities (the Nice Kicks collab is themed to resemble a tackle box, nodding to AI’s lifelong love of fishing), and key colorways that helped make the Question one of the more iconic basketball sneakers of all time. The result doesn’t feel like a tribute to a shoe so much as to the man who made it famous.

Iverson puts on a pair of Questions in 2012.

Jeff Fusco

Reebok started the shoe’s quarter-centennial out with a shoe taking us all the way back to the beginning of the Answer’s career at Georgetown University. It wasn’t the first new Question of the year—that honor goes to a grey suede colorway that hit stores on January 3rd, 2020—but it felt like the true opening ceremony of the year-long celebration. AI’s two years at Georgetown are the stuff of college basketball legend: he set a school scoring record and nabbed the Defensive Player of the Year award in both of his seasons before moving on to the NBA. There have been a couple of Hoyas Questions over the years, though this is the first to use a primarily navy upper with a grey toe and accents (the rest have utilized grey with navy accents).

Another notable centerpiece of Reebok’s Question line this year was a retro of the original Red Toe Iverson wore while tearing up NBA courts across the globe during his unprecedented rookie season. (That would be the year that saw him go first overall in the NBA draft, cross over Michael Jordan, and cap it off with Rookie of the Year.) Here, the brand gave a nod to a less-explored feature of the colorway. The version Iverson often played in during his rookie year featured a toe cap made of red pearlized leather. That iteration is the one that’s been retroed over the years and become recognizable as the de facto Question. But when the shoe was first released in a limited drop of 5,000 pairs, that red toe was made of suede. AI donned the suede edition on court for a time, but the colors bled so severely that Reebok quickly swapped them out for a pair with that pearlized leather.

Article written by Tres Dean #GQ