Touching down at JFK airport, I was pretty blasé about the whole ‘New York thing’. After all, I’d been here before. 11 years ago, at the tender age of 18, I felt like a big man when I spent time in the Big Apple during a month-long stay in the States. But as I was to find out, thinking that I knew what to expect from New York on the basis of that was a mistake.

I was in the concrete jungle for the Nike World Basketball Festival – a celebration of the game we love, bringing together some of the planet’s biggest names in basketball and entertainment. Sick.

On day one, it was an early start…and I mean EARLY.

By 6am we were up and out of our hotel and heading towards Nike Town at break neck speed through the dizzying streets of Gotham. Our mission – to interview L.A. Laker, world champion, Olympian and celebrity husband, Lamar Odom.

He spoke to us about winning back-to-back chips, Kobe’s role as a leader, how happy he is that Phil Jackson is returning to La-La-Land, his excitement at the prospect of coming to London for NBA Europe Live, and how his marriage to TV star Khloe Kardashian has changed his public image. Check the video below:

Lamar was a cool guy, and a good taste of the things to come.

But following the interview, jet-lag was beginning to set in…and me and my compadres needed refuelling. Some New York street meat (I didn’t actually eat any – but the other guys said it was surprisingly good!) and many high-quality, high-strength espressos did the job.

My guide in NY was Simon – a friend and coffee connoisseur with an undying love for Led Zepplin.

Two thumbs up from Nike's Simon Wainwright

Another guy I hooked up with was Magdi Fernandez… Pause.

Magdi used to run the legendary Slammin’ Kicks trainer shop, and is now responsible for and the Crossover tee-shirt brand.

Sneaker freak Magdi Fernandez

Anyway, following our pitstop, it was back on the road – heading to the Ballroom in Harlem for an amazing exhibition. Nike had put together a history of the basketball sneaker, featuring some really original artifacts dating right back to the first pair of Converse bball boots.

All this stuff alone would have made for a sick day. But that evening we had the prospect of watching Team USA…and an exclusive performance from Jay-Z.

Stay tuned…

Jake Green is MVP’s Creative Director. Get used to his amazing photos online – and in MVP Magazine, out in October.

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