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GearHead Q&A: Baron Davis

Earlier this week in Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Baron Davis helped Chinese sneaker manufacturer (and former Olympic gymnast) Li-Ning break ground on his first American store. The event was also used to unveil one of Li-Ning's signature sneakers: Davis' BD Doom.

I recently caught up with Davis to talk about his new sneaker, his partnership with Li-Ning, the second half of the NBA season, and more. Keep reading to check it out...

What led you to sign a shoe deal with a former Olympic gymnast from China???
Basketball is a global sport, and having an opportunity to work with Li-Ning as a platform to spread my brand on a global basis was something too good to pass up. I’ve always been interested in sneaker design and fashion, and to be able to implement my own thoughts and offer my creative input was something very intriguing for me as well.

State-side sneaker brands are known for involving athletes in nearly every step of designing a signature shoe. Can you talk about how the process was similar and/or different, working with Li-Ning?
The process was great. I talked to a lot of my peers in the league, asking them what they liked and disliked with their signature shoe, and I feel like the process for me has been even better. Li-Ning has kept me thoroughly engaged in everything -- from the design of the ‘Beardman’ logo, to the everyday apparel. I wanted each item to be authentic, and to represent something that I would wear both on and off the court.

How much control did you have over the final look of the BD Doom, and what was your take when you saw the completed model?
When I saw the final model, it was just a lot of excitement. I couldn’t wait to show everybody, and I couldn’t wait to wear them in games. A lot of people worked really hard to put this shoe together, so to finally see the finished product was a feeling of great accomplishment for so many involved.

How does the BD Doom compare, form and function-wise, to some of the sneakers you wore earlier in your career?
Its just a whole different look, its truly a signature shoe, From taking the molds of my feet, to a lot of back and forth talk on even the littlest details, everything I wanted in form, function, and design all came together in one shoe. I love high-tops, and the colors were not just inspired by the team I play for, but by some of my other favorite teams, like the LA Dodgers and the UCLA Bruins.

Is this strictly a sneaker for serious ballers, or should kids looking to match their kicks with their fitted hat check them out as well?
I think it can be a shoe for whatever you want. Its for the everyday consumer, the skaters, the hoopers, whoever. It’s a versatile shoe – so you can rock it for whatever fits your style or activity.

How tough has this season been, dealing with the injuries to not only Blake Griffin, but with Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby as well?
Its always tough when an integral part of the team is missing on the court. But still no excuse, look at the Blazers, they’ve had more injuries than anybody and still managing to have success, despite their entire front line being out for the season.

Kim Hughes has already gone on record as saying he plans to open up the offense more, and allow you to be more of a decision-maker. Do you think the team can effectively handle such a switch mid-season, after playing in half court sets for most of the year?
There is opportunity in every situation, so as an organization, we’re going to embrace this change and continue to try and exploit our strengths on the court, as a team, and individually. Many of us have been in the league long enough and played for enough different people that we can adapt and hopefully keep pushing for a playoff spot.