The non-profit organisation "Black Fives" sends a strong signal with its collaboration with PUMA to remember the history of African Americans in basketball, even before they were 'allowed' to play in the NBA. "Make History Now" is the slogan of the Black Fives Foundation, whose mission is to research, teach, preserve and honour the history of African Americans before they were integrated into the NBA.
The retro collection of sneakers and clothes honours the sporting achievements of the many "Black Fives" players of that time. It also emphasises the innovative efforts of the time to integrate blacks into the league and the general desegregation. As is so often the case: sport unites!
With the use of the typical features of the so-called B5s and the natural colours and fabrics, the focus is clearly on the awareness of history. Read more about the foundation and the story below! The collection is further highlighted by the classic silhouette of the flagship Future Rider running shoe.
Black Fives x PUMA Future Rider
With the 'spring strut' outsole, PUMA uses an effective damping technology and thus switches from the Fast to the Future Rider. The outsole is narrower and the Rider Foam ensures the best possible comfort.
Some elements refer to the historical component of the collab. These include the colour combination of yellow and blue and the material mix with turquoise-blue mesh and leather. Likewise, the "Make History Now" lettering on the sole is reminiscent of the Foundation's objective.
Black Fives X PUMA Clyde Mid
The PUMA Clyde Mid is adorned with similar details. In contrast to the Future Rider, however, this model has a beige leather upper and blue highlights. Furthermore, its midsole in a light distressed look exudes a vintage feel and puts the focus on the shoe's history.
A piece of history - not only on the feet
But you can support the non-profit organisation not only with beautiful footwear. The Streetstyle Collection by Black Fives x PUMA also highlights an important chapter of basketball history. You can find our three favourite pieces here:
Black Fives' and the history of basketball
Let's get to the history: The "Black Fives Era" describes the period between the early 1900s and the 1950s. As early as 1904, the first African Americans began to organise themselves into exclusively black teams, with the Smart Set Athletic Club becoming the first official African American team in the USA in 1906. It was quickly followed by many other teams on the East Coast.
The racial segregation of the time, as it is unfortunately called, prevented blacks from playing in the 'white' league and also from using gymnasiums. So the teams had to be inventive and trained in church basements, meeting rooms, armouries and dance halls. Together with their coaches and sponsors, they turned all their obstacles into opportunities. The real basketball games were often staged together with black musicians to form entire dance events.
Incidentally, the most successful team from 1923 to 1948 was that of the New York Renaissance ('Rens'). With their win rate of 83% in over 3,000 games, they were so good that they were the first to be invited to the World Cup and won. The turning point was initiated: in 1949 in NewYork, the NBA then signed black players for the first time. The African-American players of this era and their outstanding play paved the way for future talent.
But hand on heart: Who knew anything about the Black Fives Initiative and its ambitions before the collab? After this brief outline, those who are interested can simply watch the video below or browse through the exciting Website of the American organisation.
In addition to exhibitions and educational work, the organisation also maintains an archive, for example, where you can discover artefacts, photographs and various objects related to the "Black Fives Era".