For the launch of his new signature shoe, the Why Not? Zer0.4, Russell Westbrook and Jordan Brand commissioned six talented artists to create pieces inspired by the shoe’s colorways and narratives. The first four pieces debuted in December, with Russ saying, “We have to find ways to impact our youth, and tap into whatever it is they do — whether it’s art, sports or medicine. It’s been very inspiring for me to be able to do that through shoes and these artist commissions.”
For the Summer 2021 colorways, “KB3” and “Empowerment,” artists Jacob Rochester and Laci Jordan gathered inspiration from Russ’ values, mantras and ongoing tributes to his late friend, Khelcey Barrs III. “The Why Not? mentality is a good way of thinking about different challenges that may come about in life, to know that anything coming your way is rooted in greatness,” says Laci.
The Why Not? Zer0.4 features a double-stacked Zoom Air bag in the forefoot, full-length Zoom Air in the outsole, double webbing across the upper and a blend of textiles that provide a unique look and breathability. Its innovation, paired with its vibrant material and color treatments, all tie back to Russ’ life story, game and pursuit of inspiring the next generation.
Learn more about Laci and Jacob and how they approached their WNZ.4-inspired pieces below.
Why Not? Zer0.4 “KB3”
Artist: Jacob Rochester
Jacob Rochester is used to crafting his own point of view within his personal creative universe. Born and raised in Connecticut, Jacob grew up in an environment full of artistic expression; his mother was a painter, and his father was a musician. His two older siblings gave him plenty of added education in the worlds of fashion, art and design.
Now based in Los Angeles, Jacob remains guided by his lifelong passion for art. You’re as likely to find him plucking samples for new beats or watercolor-painting classic sports cars.
Jacob’s groundedness is reflected in the Why Not? Zer0.4 “KB3” colorway, which honors and carries on the legacy of Russ’ late friend and former teammate, Khelcey Barrs III. KB3 is a reminder to cherish and celebrate our loved ones, including those who may have already departed.
“The Why Not? mentality is extremely important to me, and growing up, it always has been,” says Jacob. “I wouldn’t make music or art, or play sports, or be into design, without this way of thinking. I’ve always felt that literally anything can be learned, so it just comes down to saying why not do it or try it.”
Why Not? Zer0.4 “Empowerment”
Artist: Laci Jordan
Laci Jordan creates images full of characters who have aspirational fearlessness, confidence and strength. Her work inspires others to see their own potential, much like Russell Westbrook does with his Why Not? philosophy.
Laci’s life story is proof of finding one’s path through curiosity. After growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, she went to college to study criminal justice, computer science and political science. During an internship, she was accidentally given a design assignment and quickly fell in love with her newfound artistic side. In that moment, she decided to pivot her entire trajectory.
Now based in Los Angeles, Laci is a multidisciplinary artist and creative director who has worked with numerous major brands. While her art references pop culture and current events, she carefully focuses on representation and inclusion through her work.
“It’s important to show women living our everyday lives,” says Laci. “It’s also important to emphasize how much we drive culture, particularly Black women, from streetwear to the education system.”
Russell Westbrook has continually pushed for the empowerment of youth and women. The new WNZ.4 “Empowerment” represents these values, with colors inspired by the beige and orange WNBA ball. Laci used this palette as the foundation for her piece.
“My work tends to be very bold and colorful and something that stops you in your tracks when you see,” she adds.
The Why Not? Zer0.4 “KB3” is available starting May 11 from Jordan.com and select retailers. The Why Not? Zer0.4 “Empowerment” is available starting June 17 from Jordan.com and select retailers.