You’re clear for takeoff in the Converse Pro Leather ‘Birth of Flight’


With the acquisition of James Harden and the return to health of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, all eyes have been on the Brooklyn Nets this NBA season.

But did you know that the team’s name, way back in the day, was the New York Americans?

The Nets have a long and storied history, even if they haven’t always been in the spotlight of the national media.

They were formed back in 1967 as one of the original members of the American Basketball Association, the younger-brother league of the National Basketball Association.

The New York franchise stayed “the Americans” for just one season, making the playoffs but forfeiting to the Kentucky Colonels due to unsafe playing conditions at their Long Island Arena court.

In ’68 they changed their name to the Nets, to align with the New York Mets and Jets (the more you know!) They had mixed successes over the next few years, narrowly missing out on drafting Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) but reaching the ABA Finals for the first time in 1972 after acquiring star Rick Barry two seasons earlier.

But come 1973-74, the Nets really hit their stride, thanks in part to the arrival of one of basketball’s all-time greats, a small forward by the name of Julius Erving.

With “Dr. J” in Nets colors, the team won championships in 1974 and 1976 — the final ABA title before the merger with the NBA — and Erving won league MVP in all three of his seasons with New York.

Dr. J went on to have a Hall of Fame-worthy career in the NBA, winning a chip in 1983 with Philadelphia, where he played until his retirement in 1987. The Nets and 76ers have both retired Erving’s jersey in honor of his contributions to both franchises.

Now, Converse is paying tribute to the all-time great with the release of the Pro Leather ‘Birth of Flight.’

The Pro Leather, an enduring retro basketball sneaker worn by Erving during his NBA career, dropped in 1976, the same year the company brought Dr. J on board as an endorser.

The ‘Birth of Flight’ edition pays homage to Erving’s incredible dunk from the free-throw line in the 1976 ABA Slam Dunk Contest.

It features a white leather upper with ABA basketball designs on the heel tabs and tearaway Chevron logos on the uppers for custom styling.

Available in Men’s sizing on 2/18 at, you’re clear for takeoff in the shoe made famous by one of the greatest dunkers of all-time, the Converse Pro Leather ‘Birth of Flight.’

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