The man and idea behind the shoes: Meet Kickstradomis

Kickstradomis, Trevor Booker, NBA Kicks

Sal Amezcua is a 31-year-old creative artist who lives in Los Angeles. He’s best known as Kickstradomis. He’s the man behind the flurry of players wearing customized painted shoes on the court this season.

Trevor Booker was first introduced to him by Robert Covington, a teammate of his while with Philadelphia.

The Pacers spent three nights in Los Angeles last week during a four-game road trip. One afternoon, Booker met up with Kickstradomis himself to brainstorm designs and to receive his first pair. And he brought Myles Turner and Lance Stephenson with him.

First, Booker wanted an X-Men design. But then he had something special up his sleeve for the postseason. And because these players wear large sizes and often receive special shoes, it’s best for the players to have shoes shipped to Amezcua’s Los Angeles residence.

“I just thought it would be cool to put some characters on my shoes,” Booker said. “I asked the other guys if they wanted some. I can’t wait for my playoff shoes.”

The Reggie Miller choke sign shoes? Yeah, photos had already been shared — and gone viral. (Reggie has already ‘liked’ the photo on Instagram late Thursday.)

Booker had hoped to keep it under wraps but now that it’s public, he’s all smiles about how it turned out.

“They’re pretty dope,” he said. “I like his work. He’s trying to be the go-to guy in the NBA so I’m trying to help him out. He does some great work.

“I just told him what I wanted to do with these like two days ago, and he finished already. Sometimes he works through the night to get them done.”

Speaking with VigilantSports.com Thursday night, Amezcua explained how he got into this, and the process to complete a design. These shoes honoring Hall of Famer Reggie Miller took about four hours to air and hand brush. It’s even more impressive once you learn that Amezcua is partially colored blind. That requires confirmation from his girlfriend or brother-in-law that he got it right.

His entry into the NBA began with a direct message to Minnesota big men Karl-Anthony Towns last year. He shot his shot, so to speak, and it was nothing but net. He met KAT for four hours at his home in Los Angeles.

“He liked my story, he liked that I was an underdog, and he felt that I was the first guy to bring some style to his shoes,” Amezcua said. “Nobody had attacked the NBA so I felt like it was a perfect opportunity.”

Stephenson hasn’t had a shoe contract this year, meaning he’s free to wear any brand during games. Previously, he was with AND 1. So he’s worn a different pair of shoes in nearly every game and mostly stuck to Jordan Brand.

Kickstradomis, Lance Stephenson, Born Ready

Lance Stephenson’s Born Ready customized shoes – by Kickstradomis.

Stephenson, who wants to be known as the king of NBA Kicks, has already had two pairs customized. His game night locker at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is stuffed with at least 33 different pairs of shoes, easily more than any other Pacers player.

“I love shoes and I just wanted to be creative,” he told VigilantSports.com. “He told me he could put something nice on shoe so I decided to go with it. I definitely loved it.”

His first pair, worn in Los Angeles, featured his nickname, Born Ready. His second pair, worn the following game in Denver, highlighted the popular game Fortnite – catering to the fans.

“I love the game. I play it when I’m bored in the hotel on road trips. It’s very competitive. That game gets you off your feet, makes you start yelling. And I know the kids love it. So I knew they would definitely love the shoes.

“Everybody plays Fortnite.”

Lance Stephenson, Born Ready, Fortnite, Kickstradomis

Lance Stephenson’s Fortnite customized shoes – by Kickstradomis.

Word of mouth has been the best thing for him. Getting NBA players with huge followings, especially on Instagram has been a bonus. And he’s been smart to not only post the final designs with a watermark (smart!), but also share videos of the process.

Kickstradomis, Myles Turner, Storm Troopers, Star Wars

Myles Turner’s Storm Troopers customized shoes – by Kickstradomis.

As for the nickname Kickstradomis: “It just sounds cool and is catchy so I rolled with it and it worked out,” he said.

Myles Turner is an avid fan of Star Wars. He’s watched every move countless times. He saw the latest movie three times just days after its release. So for his customized PG1s, the choice was obvious: a Storm Trooper.

“That part was easy,” he said with a smile. “He’s doing his thing. I’m happy that he’s able to have such an influence in the whole basketball world.”

Turner, who has worn these Storm Trooper shoes in several games now, has another pair in the works for the postseason.

One thing NBA players and fans alike have to appreciate is the league stepping back and not making this an issue, unlike the NFL which has strict guidelines. The NBA is by far the most progressive progressional sports league, encouraging players to be themselves.

That extends into shoes, a coveted area.

“I definitely appreciate that freedom,” Booker told VigilantSports.com. “It just shows other sides of the players, what they’re in to and what they like. I think it’s pretty cool.”

Turner added: “The fact that they’re so lenient with it [the shoe rules] is kind of cool because we’re able to show ourselves outside of basketball a bit and look good, feel good when we’re out there.”

Amezcua has found a niche market that may soon pay big dividends. If not, his creative juices are flowing and he’s back behind a brush after doubting if he’d ever pick it up again after a car accident.

“The fans love it,” he said. “I think the NBA is starting to realize that it adds some swag and some flavor to the game.”

Booker’s X-Men design

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