Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Nike's Air Max team gave Thabo Sefolosha two custom Air Max 90s

by Aaron Falk

­Thabo Sefolosha gets questions about his shoes.

A lot of them.

But at this point, Sefolosha doesn’t know any other way.

The Utah Jazz forward is the only player in the NBA to wear the iconic sneaker during games. It is an unusual choice, but one that fits him perfectly.

Now Sefolosha will be sporting a new version of his original look during games: his very own.

The Air Max team met with the Jazz forward on Friday afternoon at the team’s hotel in Portland, where they discussed some plans leading up to the shoe’s 30th anniversary in 2020. They also gave Sefolosha two one-of-kind Air Max 90s, designed exclusively for him.

The first pair was a tribute to Sefolosha’s heritage, the colors of the flag of South Africa, where his father was born. The shoe has Sefolosha’s name and its meaning, “the one who brings joy”. It features the Swiss flag on one tongue and the South African flag on the other. On the tips of the sneakers are the name of his wife and child. The second pair was designed to go with the Jazz’s red rock-inspired City Edition jersey.

Sefolosha has been wearing the iconic Air Max 90s full time since 2015, when he began working his way back from a broken leg.

“It feels great to me,” he said. “After an injury I started wearing them one summer, coming back and it felt great. The grip, everything. So I said let me give it a try on the court.”

The Jazz forward used to prefer the Nike Huarache, but when the company stopped making them he was forced to look for an alternative. He went back and forth until he discovered the Air Max 1.

“The high tops,” he said. “Those were the ones I started wearing. Those felt good.”

But those, too, were discontinued.

“So I went to the Air Max 90,” he said. “It was the easiest to find the different colorways and everything. That’s how I got to these.”

Now Sefolosha is known for his unusual choice

“It’s one way to express yourself in a different way than just basketball,” Sefolosha said.

His personalized sneakers will be no exception.

“I can see these with the City jerseys. It’s gonna be fire,” he said. “These with the color and everything, it’s going to be a splash. They’re going to stand out.”