The ultimate hoop culture brand wants you to be fitted this fall. Unless, you have no game. That’s right, for its 30th anniversary, iconic street ball brand AND1 teamed up with sportswear company Mitchell & Ness to re-launch some its original Trash Talk tee line. In addition, AND1 brought back its open runs, and is using its “Paint the Park” initiative to upgrade courts around the country.
This drop comes at the perfect time, as it taps into the current nostalgia for extreme showmanship, wild ball handling, and highlights and mixtapes from the ’90s and 2000s. The new collection features nine Trash Talk tees, ranging in color from blue to gray to red and more, with popular and classically super disrespectful slogans such as “You have no game.” and “Take a seat. Class is in session.” emblazoned on the back. What made these shirts popular before, will make them popular again.
“…[the shirts] were synonymous of what was going on at the time: a lot of playground ball, a lot of trash talking, a lot of players trying to not only hone their skills but solidify their name and their game in selected parks and cities,” Rafer Alston told The Athletic, known to AND1 and the streetball world as “Skip To My Lou,” before, during, and even after an 11-year career in the NBA. “It was the perfect storm at the right time. It was what we were all thinking about saying or doing at the time.”
The new Trash Talk tees retail for $48 USD and can be shopped on the Mitchell & Ness website here. Our only wish is that they would have included “Don’t laugh, You’re next.”
AND1 was started in 1993 as a graduate school project by Seth Berger, Jay Gilbert, and Tom Austin, and experienced a meteoric rise due to its culture and energy.
The brand exploded into the NBA beginning in 1996, when hooper Stephon Marbury became the company’s first NBA ambassador and first wore an AND1 shoe in the league, bringing it new fame. Stephon was named to the All-Rookie Team in ’97 and went on to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to the NBA Playoffs in ‘97 and ’98. The brand debuted its footwear at the 1997 NBA All-Star Game, officially releasing the Stephon Marburys, which wound up becoming one of AND1’s greatest shoes. And from there, the movement grew.
By 1998, a young high school coach and New York City DJ, Set Free, set some grainy streetball highlights featuring soon-to-become NBA player Rafer Alston aka “Skip to My Lou”, to a soundtrack of emerging hip hop music. AND1 edited and reprinted 50,000 digital copies of the Mixtape, and distributed them across America through basketball camps, clinics and record labels. The “Skip Tape” went on to inspire a series of AND1 Mixtapes, VHS tapes that forever transformed the game of basketball, and Rafer soon became synonymous with AND1.
By the 2001 season, AND1 was second in market share among NBA endorsees, just eight years after its inception. “Back in the day, 40 percent of the NBA used to wear AND1, and they were all not signed. They just wanted to be part of that movement,” Dexter Gordon, the brand director for Galaxy Universal, the parent company for AND1 said. “I mean, you had guys getting AND1 tattoos. It just meant something to them.”
Later, the newer AND1 Tai Chi shoes were instantly vaulted into the stratosphere when Vince Carter put on one of the greatest performances in NBA Dunk Contest history—all while wearing the red and white Tai Chis.
Another prominent appearance of AND1’s NBA endorsees that followed was when Chauncey Billups took home the MVP honors during the 2004 NBA Finals, wearing the AND1 Rises. Chaucey averaged 21 points and 5 rebounds in the series, leading the Detroit Pistons to their first championship in 14 years and picking up the MVP award in the process – all while wearing the AND1 Rises. If you enjoy watching the NBA Championships, explore NBA Championship odds.
Then, there was the Mixtape Tour, which kicked off in 2002, stemming from the success of the tapes, and eventually visiting 30 countries. Legendary streetballers such as “Hot Sauce”, “Escalade”. and “The Professor” would go from city to city, court to court to challenge the greatest streetballers in one-on-one’s, showing off their finest moves while the towel-twirling emcee brought the energy, complete with “Oh baby!”s.
As for what the future holds for the brand that’s looking to rebuild, Dexter Gordon, current head of Sports Marketing at AND1 told Highsnobiety, “We are trying to get more into women’s basketball now because when you think about streetball, it’s always from a male’s perspective. But a lot of women out here that hoop, too, are streetball players and have skills.”
“You see other brands out here trying to replicate what AND1 did, and of course, a lot of stuff kind of simmered down a little because of Covid, but now, especially here in New York, the energy is back. Summer leagues are back. People are back out in the parks. So we’re just going to try to replicate that energy.”
“We just want to bring it straight to the communities again and have some fun, bringing that block party atmosphere. I mean, it’s the grassroots, and we are probably the only brand that could do certain things organically. If other brands do it, somebody might be like, that’s not really them. It doesn’t match up. But with us, I think we can go in and do not only things with basketball, things with music, things with art, with graffiti.”
Dexter also revealed the brand plans to release one of the original Mixtape tour uniforms, the original OG AND1 heavy mesh shorts, and the heavy retro AND1 hoodies. Also on the horizon are a collaboration with Overtime Elite, work with a lot of the OG players, and more open runs next summer, where they’re pinpointing those new players with the hope to redo the bus tour.
Hopefully AND1 can earn their next and one. But one thing is for certain: the Trash Talk shirts are an easy must cop.