Franklin Session is a household name amongst the Los Angeles basketball community. On the court, the Watts-raised product continues to put on for his city every time he steps on the hardwood. Mainstream media outlets have profiled his basketball backstory—from full-time store manager to part-time hooper—as he continues to electrify crowds with his highlight-worthy style of play during the summertime at the Drew League. But as much as he’s recognized for his game, Session, who’s known for his two most famous monikers—”Megadeth” and “Frank Nitty”—tends to demolish competition off the court, too, with his sneakers.
The Drew League is more than a pro-am league where players come to showcase their basketball skills; it’s a weekly get together where people from all walks of the world come and showcase their style. On game days, Session’s arrives in fashion—literally. From to head to toe, Nitty is dressed to impress and, for a few seconds, the baseline he walks from the entrance to the VIP seats before tip-off, serves as a runway for those in attendance to get a glimpse of what kicks he’s wearing for the day. Some days it’s the latest sought-after models from Virgil Abloh’s in-demand Off-White collaborations—Air Jordan Chicago 1s, Prestos, Air Force One’s or VaporMax—and other times it’s Nike silhouettes like Sean Wotherspoon’s hybrid Air Max 97/1s or the very limited Friends and Family UNDFTD Kobe 1 Protro he wore during Week 7.
Despite wearing a different pair of heat every weekend, Session is the opposite on the court. This season, Drew League players were gifted some of the latest signature models—Kobe A.D. NXT 360, Kyrie 4, KD11 or LeBron 15–but Nitty doesn’t pay much attention to what’s hot but rather to what works. Over the last two years, Session has been wearing a retro version of the 2008 Hyperdunk, a very popular Nike Basketball model designed by Eric Avar.
We caught up with Session to talk his sneaker style, what makes sneakers the best part of an outfit, why he prefers the ’08 Hyperdunk over newer models and more.
How would you describe your sneaker style?
Franklin Session: I would say very trendy and hypebeast-ish [laughs]. To be honest, I buy whatever I see a lot. For me, if I see it enough and like it; I buy my kicks based off where I see it. If I see it with a certain outfit, I’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s dope’ because I follow a lot of fashion pages [on Instagram]. As long as I keep seeing it, I know I can pull it off with anything. I follow hype pages a lot, so it’s whatever’s hype at the time, Virgil [Abloh] or whatever it is.
What is it about sneakers that are the defining point to compliment the outfit?
FS: Your sneakers can give your outfit so much character. Depending on what it is, you can wear anything—especially me. I’ll throw on anything that a lot of people don’t even like or what’s new. I just like my things to stand out from afar. As long as they stand out, I’ll wear them, you know?
Favorite on-court shoe and why?
FS: To be honest, my favorite on-court shoe is the Kobe 9 Elite High. That shoe was $250 so I had to stop buying those. I ain’t rich; I ain’t made it yet. My favorite affordable shoe is the Nike Hyperdunk because it’s so light and the traction on it is crazy. But the first-best traction shoe is the Kobe 9 Elite High.
You tend to keep a small rotation of 2008 Hyperdunks throughout the season. What’s the reason behind that?
FS: I beat up one pair of shoes until I gotta switch up to another one. Second, they have to be comfortable and can’t hurt. Two shoes right now—the Gamma [XIs] and Hyperdunks—after I play in them, my feet don’t hurt. Some shoes I play in and my feet hurt, and that’s the worst pain because you don’t have wifey to rub them down. [It’s] just comfortability and traction, man. With me, traction is everything. If I don’t hear the squeaking out the box then I’m not going to wear it, I’m just being honest. I’ll workout in it, but if it doesn’t have the sneakers out the box, then I’m probably not going to hoop in it because I can’t have no bad games. I can’t afford them.
Top five shoes in your rotation now?
FS: The Air Yeezy 2 “Solar,” Off-White 1 “Chicago,” Off-White Presto, Sean Wotherspoon Air Max 97/1 and Air Jordan 1 “Fragment.”
Has there been a specific sneaker that you’ve played in the Drew League where you’ve had a big game?
FS: Yeah, two now: The ones I wore in the 53-point game—the Hyperdunks, my blue pair—and last year’s USA Hyperdunk pair I won the Drew League championship in.