Fashion

Breaking Down The Filipino References in The Nike Lebron Soldier 12 ‘Agimat’

For the second time, Nike serves up an all-blue Lebron James sneaker for the Philippines.
IMAGE Nike
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You’ll recall, that in May of last year, Nike released a Philippines-themed Lebron 14. It was all-blue with gold accents, and it had several specific references to our country and our basketball culture. It was intended to celebrate the Filipino basketball player through the signature sneaker of a beloved NBA star, so naturally, we all went nuts for it. The ‘Agimat’ Lebron 14 was one of the most sought-after colorways, because #PinoyPride, because LeBron James, and well, because it was a great shoe on its own practical and aesthetic merits.

This year, Nike is reprising the ‘Agimat’ colorway, this time with the Lebron Soldier 12 (it's a lower number because the Soldier is a "spin-off" of the mainline Lebron sneakers, created more recently). Using the same colors and many of the same design features—why fix what ain’t broke, right?—they’ve put together a sneaker that’s sure to fly straight off of shelves here in the Philippines. Check it out:

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It’s worth noting that many of the same allusions to Filipino basketball culture are still here. Specifically, these are:

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“Para sa Kadakilaan”
Last year’s ‘Agimat’ colorway used this as its slogan. It’s a loose Filipino translation of “For glory,” which doesn’t really come across right. But it’s here again, this time along the ankle area.

MNL 330
The tongue of the Lebron Soldier 12 'Agimat' is studded with emblems. The first emblem shows the letters MNL, which obviously refer to Manila, and the number 330, which is the zip code of Akron, James’ hometown. You could interpret this as a “from Akron to Manila” type of design element, which is nice and subtle, if a little tenuous. But we still think it’s a cool little touch.

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Volcanoes
Another emblem is fire, which is meant to represent both James’ fiery passion for the game and the Philippines’ many volcanoes. At first, you’d think that our volcanoes aren’t exactly emblematic of the country, but think again: the Philippines is one of the countries along the Pacific Ring of Fire. It’s not the most obvious facet of our land, but we are, in fact, a volcanic country.

Steep mountain
Okay, this one is a little farfetched. The steep mountain refers to our terrain, and to James’ uphill battle to greatness. Apart from Mount Mayon—which isn't in Naga, by the way—there aren't many reasons to refer to Philippine terrain as "steep." Honestly, it’s a feature we could have done without—or maybe swapped for something better. A streetball reference instead, perhaps?

Stars
The four stars are meant to signify James’ four MVP titles, but they’re also conveniently Filipino visual elements. Good call on this one, and we appreciate the restraint that kept it subtle—they could have easily slapped a sun on there, just because.

“Mula Mandirigma sa Mandirigma”
Lastly, this year's ‘Agimat’ sneaker bears the tagline “Mula Mandirigma sa Mandirigma,” which is a loose Filipino translation of “From Soldier to Soldier.” It sounds a little awkward, and you almost get the sense that this was Google-translated. But hey, the shoes are called Soldiers, after all, and if they make you feel like a mandirigma on the court, we can’t complain.

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The Nike Lebron Soldier XX ‘Agimat’ will be available on June 15, 2018 at Titan and select Nike retailers for the full retail price of P6,745.

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