Nike took its iconic Air Max 1 to the pitch as the J League’s Urawa Dragons inspired the Nike Air Max 1 ‘Urawa’ in 2004. Nearly two decades later and the Swoosh brings back the cult-classic with a new look.
With a more subtle appearance and premium details, the 2023 Air Max 1 ‘Urawa’ arrives at the perfect time as footy culture is becoming a mainstay in streetwear.
To celebrate the intersection of soccer and sneakers, we spoke with Darnell King — Phoenix Rising captain who has been at the forefront of the club’s success in the USL.
Darnell King arrived to Phoenix Rising in 2020 and has been at the center of the club’s recent success.
In his four seasons at Rising, King has brought glory to the club with making it to the finals after winning the Western Conference Championship.
“That was my first trophy that I won professionally,” King said. “That was a huge moment.”
However, the final match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies mas cancelled due to COVID-19 protocol and the game was never played. While the game has passed, King’s hunger for USL glory remains as intense as ever.
“That’s one thing we’re still missing here in Phoenix.”
King’s professional journey throughout the last 12 years has taken him across the country from his southern Floridian roots to Nashville, to San Antonio, and now the Valley of the Sun.
As the club’s captain, King’s leadership, passion, and dedication has become a foundation for the team on the eve of his 100th appearance for the club.
“Every time I touch the pitch is my favorite moment,” he said. “I play for my family, my team, my city, and for myself.”
King, who recently became a father, knows that his responsibilities on and off the pitch are bigger than a score line.
“You never know who you can touch with what we do,” King added. “Soccer growing in America is awesome in general – hopefully we can keep spreading joy and soccer all around The Valley.”
Outside of the touchlines, King loves everything Arizona has to offer.
From a weekend getaway to Sedona, hitting up his go-to spots in Chandler such as Crust and Buon’s, and even enjoying the various bodies of water from tubing in Salt River to spending quality time outdoors with loved ones at either Lake Pleasant, Lake Bartlett, or Saguaro Lake, King has found a home in the Grand Canyon state.
“Phoenix has been an amazing experience,” he said. “I feel like a local boy here now. I love the city, and I love how it’s growing.”
Not only is The Valley growing in King’s eyes but the sport he’s dedicated his livelihood is making inroads in everyday culture as well as within the fashion and pop-culture spaces.
“People are experiencing the world game at a new level,” King said. “I’ve been loving see it grow and see the fans get into it —it’s the world’s game.”
The Nike Air Max 1 ‘Urawa’ is available online on October 3 at 7 a.m. MST at manorphx.com and available in-store at 11 a.m. in select sizes.