Sit Down With Kicking It ATX’s Greg Grovey

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Kicking It recently teamed up with Jordan Brand for the Air Jordan 1 “Rebellionaire” release and created a one-of-a-kind event that will go down in history as the one that brought the sneaker community together following the pandemic. The event paid homage to the early career of Michael Jordan, who during his first couple of years in the NBA, was allegedly fined $5,000 for each time he put on his pair of “BRED” Jordans for breaking the league’s uniform policy. Jordan’s willingness to take the fine was his rebellious act showing that sometimes in order to write history, you have to color outside the lines. 

Being one of six stores to release the Air Jordan 1 “Rebellionaire” a week before the actual release date, Kicking It did not waste the opportunity to give back to the community that has made their store successful. On Monday March 7th, they posted on their Instagram to donate a pair of new socks AND a pair of new or gently used sneakers to lock in your size of the Air Jordan 1 Rebellionaire. In three hours from 5pm to store closing, Kicking It was able to donate over 230 pairs of shoes and 360 pairs of socks to the local homeless shelter. 

The giving back did not stop there. A collaborative effort between Jordan Brand and Kicking It allowed the shop to give three grants to their rebels. The idea behind these grants was to help the rebellious creatives continue to change the industry by using their mastering their respective crafts. Nice Kicks had the opportunity to sit down with Greg Grovey, the owner of Kicking It, to talk about the release, what goes into planning an event with Jordan Brand, as well as his past sneaker releases, and what is in store in the future for Kicking It. With only six stores getting to host this experience with Jumpman, we wanted to give our fans a behind-the-scenes look of how the Air Jordan 1 “Rebellionaire” release went down.

Conversation with Greg

Nice Kicks: Hey Mr. Grovey, thank you for sitting down with us today about your recent collaboration with Jordan Brand .

Greg: Absolutely man, I am happy to be here.

Nice Kicks: So let’s kick it off, I understand you are an absolute Air Force fanatic, but what did this Jordan 1 release mean to you?

Greg : Yeah. So, Air Force Ones actually hold a forever sentimental space in my heart. That shoe is my favorite silhouette regardless of any brand spoken about today. It was absolutely an honor for my store, Kicking It, to be chosen to release The Rebellionaire and for us to be able to put on such a successful release.

Nice Kicks: Yeah, it seemed like the release had this nostalgic vibe that everyone really enjoyed. The sneaker community in Austin seemed hungry for this type of event.

Greg: Luckily, for us and the Austin sneaker community, we did put on a successful event and we sold a little over 1,400 pairs that day. The rest went online through a newsletter link. So it was a really good release for us. Good to see the people coming out again. It was the first time, probably since the pandemic, that the sneaker culture has really had a chance to come out in droves like that and be back outside, as they say. So the release was special. Like I said, this release will go down, hopefully, in the history books and it’ll just be one of many that we will have in the future.

Nice Kicks: The general public doesn’t usually get to see how much effort goes into the build out of an official event. Can you give us some insight on what it was like sitting in on all the decision making to transform Kicking It into an official Jordan Brand event?

Greg: So yeah that’s a good question. It’s actually a fun and challenging situation, I’ll say. When you’re selected to do an event, pretty much they’ll [Jordan Brand] contact you and they’ll say, “Hey, we have an idea for you we want to do,” and they give you an outline of what they want it to be about. This shoe, being a Rebellionaire, they wanted to focus on the people who are rebels in their own sense. They gave us the parameters of what they want the Rebellionaires to look like, but when I say parameters,  it’s not really tight. They give you a lot of freedom to do what you want to do. So with us, luckily, we already knew three creators, the ones we picked: Raven, Porter, and David. We’ve done a lot of work with them in the past and will continue to do work with them in the future. So they immediately came to mind as being “Rebellionaires” in their field, so it was a privilege to be able to pick them and give them a grant, along with Jordan Brand. So that’ll help them grow in their field and take their craft to the next level, hopefully. So yeah it’s a challenge because there’s so much you want to do but there’s also some red tape you have to go through. Jordan Brand being such a big brand, a lot things have to be approved, be it their logo or certain images you can use and the others you can’t. But it was fun, man. Us with my team along with RSD Advertising Agency led by [Mr. Dempsey], Sneaker Grandpa, we were able to come up with some really dope ideas and execute it really well.

Nice Kicks: Yeah it was a fun time seeing people camping again and showing up 12 hours early and driving in from out of state.  Did it bring you back to the old days of managing and operating another shop (cough cough**)?

Greg: Yeah another shop haha.  Shout out Nice Kicks, the OG Nice Kicks and Matt Halfhill. Yeah, It definitely did. man, we had some really good times at that shop. We had some crazy lineups. Around that time, man, we were doing releases. You think back, it’s like Concords, Nerf KDs, the Galaxy Foamposite which was crazy.

Nice Kicks: A pivotal time…

Greg: Yeah, which was crazy. I think the Galaxy release went down in sneaker history!

Greg Grovey loading up the Nice Kicks Ice Cream truck circa 2014

Nice Kicks: Can you confirm a rumor I heard about the Galaxy Foam release?

Greg: What’s the rumor? **laughing**

Nice Kicks: Well, I heard somebody sent somebody from the warehouse to go stand in line to see who was cutting…

Greg: Yeah, absolutely. Man, that’s a funny story. It’s even funnier because, when we posted up our Rebellionaire release, somebody came and was like, “You should do it like he did the Galaxies.” So basically, what happened is we put out the entire week, like, “Hey, you can’t line up before.” I forgot the time. Let’s say eight o’clock. It was like, “You can’t line up before 8 a.m.” So everybody’s like, “Okay, okay, okay.” “You can’t line up before eight a.m.” We’re like, “If you line up before 12 p.m, you won’t be able to get the shoe.” Everybody was like, “Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.” So we were there. We were early. We were inside the store. All it takes is one person. One person came at 11:45 and got in line. So immediately, 40, 50 people came running right behind him. So we’re like, “Okay, all these people are lined up before eight o’clock. It’s not going to happen.” So at Noon, Matt actually asked the writing staff to come down. So George [Kiel 3] was a writer, so his face wasn’t that familiar with Nice Kicks at the time. So he stood in the back of the line at Noon and, when the time came to release the shoes, we were like, “All right. Everybody in front of him, y’all lined up before Noon, so you’re not eligible.” So that was a fun release. Obviously, people were upset, but rules are rules. We had some amazing releases back then, man, but like I say, hopefully here, this will be the first of many that we will have memorable occasions and memories to look back on with our releases here at Kicking It.

Nice Kicks: What’s up with Kicking It and Jordan Brand? Maybe a shoe? If you could pick a Jordan model, which would you go with?

Greg: I hope so. Jordan Brand, y’all hear that? The people want a shoe with Kicking It, so we should make that happen Jordan Brand, y’all get in and we can make this collab. That’s tough, man. My favorite Jordan ever is the Aqua 8. It’s just something about that colorway. I don’t know, especially with seeing a celebrity who will remain nameless right now rocking that shoe so much, it just made me love that shoe even more. But I’m a huge Jordan 12 guy. I will obviously take any Jordan retro that I could do a collab with and would be a crazy honor to have. But if I had to pick, I would probably say a 12. I know that’s random. A lot of people don’t consider 12s to be one of the top models, but I love a Jordan 12. There is a lot you could play with on that, the materials and the different sections and everything like that. So I would love to have a Jordan 12.

Nice Kicks: Last Question, What was one of your favorite memories of you camping out for a shoe, personally, if you ever had to?

Greg: Yeah, man. I camped out plenty of times. That’s one thing that keeps me grounded here because I remember being on the other side of it … I remember the Concord release.  I just remember we had a lot of camp-outs in my day. We camped out for every Jordan 11 holiday season. So I’m originally from Dallas. One Christmas, when the Bred 11s released, we were literally on top of the roof of the mall. I don’t even know how we got up there, 500 people who thought they had a good way to get inside before everybody else. We ended up being late, but ended up getting them. Concord release here at Highland Mall in Austin, getting kicked out of the mall, not being able to get them. Man, defining moments. Package here at Highland Mall in Austin, where they broke the door down and we got kicked out and were going to get charged with trespassing if we stayed, and making the decision to try to come back and get them and still not getting them. But man, I got camp-out stories for days, but most of them are definitely around Jordan releases around holiday season. So everybody knows how that go. If you don’t, camping out is cool. I think it’s kind of like how you earn your stripes in the game.

Nice Kicks: Thank you for sharing I’ve met a lot of people through events like Kicking It just had that I also keep in touch with.  I’ve met a lot of good friends through this thing of ours, I don’t think I would’ve had the opportunity to have met you if it weren’t for shoes. Even though I was reading your write-ups years ago.

Greg: Haha, for sure. You’re absolutely right!

Nice Kicks: We all look forward to seeing what Kicking It has got going for the rest of 2022. Thank you so much for the opportunity to chat.

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