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Trey Kerby

Dopeness alert — Niketown's World Basketball Festival sculptures

Ball Don't Lie

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I've been in New York City for exactly 23 hours and in those 1,380 minutes I have seen a lot of very cool things. For instance, just yesterday I saw a European fellow wearing jean shorts so short that Jessica Simpson's character in the "Dukes of Hazzard" movie would have said "those are some short shorts, y'all." New York City, you guys! Totally the concrete jungle where dreams are made of.

But the coolest thing I've seen so far are the gigantic foam sculptures of various international basketball players all around New York City's Niketown. They're amazing and kind of hard to put in to words. They are almost like if cartoons came alive and were twice as big as humans, but they are not really alive. You know what I mean, hopefully. If not, just look at the pictures and use context clues to imagine how huge and awesome these are.

I spoke to a Nike representative about the sculptures and she told me everything there was to possibly know about these things. They're based on Nike's World Basketball Festival artwork, obviously, and those designs were done in-house. Then, because Nike wanted not just a "2-D presence," but also an animated display, the characters were crafted from "super dense foam" (similar to mattress foam) by Lit Workshop in Portland, Ore. That foam was laser cut, then bonded together, before being hand-painted by graduates of the Portland Art Institute.

Hilariously, the sculptures are super flexible, so they were just folded up and shipped by truck from Portland to New York, kind of like you packing up your foam rubber mattress pad in the trunk of your car on the way home from another year at college. Niketown unloaded the giant sculptures, they sprung to life and then were hanged by cables from the ceiling. Super cool.

By my count, there were 10 sculptures — eight hanging and two creepin' under the escalators. I doubt they'll ever be for sale, but these would look incredible just sitting on a couch in a basement somewhere. Hit the jump to see a lot more of these, and if you're in NYC, they're definitely worth a trip.

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Kevin Durant(notes), having a dribble fest on some basketballs.

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Durant again, but this kind of shows the scale and the amount of detail on these.

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Yet another Durant, this time hanging at the top of the store shooting. This one is huge.

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Anderson Varejao(notes), my personal favorite because he looks like he's flying. The hair is great.

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Dwyane Wade(notes), dunking left-handed for some reason. Also, in the background is Varejao's hair, which kind of looks like a delicious dark chocolate frosting.

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Carlos Arroyo(notes) and some Chinese player who is not Yi Jianlian(notes).

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Yi Jianlian, whose hair is way spikier than that other Chinese player. Someone call "Unsolved Mysteries."

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A bunch of hanging sculpture dudes (clockwise from bottom: Arroyo, Boris Diaw(notes), J.J. Barea, Durant, mystery Chinese guy) and Boris Diaw who looks way skinnier in sculpture form.

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The view from the floor.

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