The Superstars: Patrick Mahomes, Anthony Edwards, Billie Jean King and Other Adidas Athletes Talk Sneaker Favorites and Advice for Youngsters

More from Footwear News

This year, Adidas is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Over the decades, it has outfitted countless sports stars from across the globe, lending its technical prowess to help these athletes accomplish the unimaginable.

To mark the occasion, eleven of the brand’s partners share pivotal memories about the Three Stripes, plus reveal their favorite Adidas shoes and share advice for young people on how to achieve their goals.

Adidas Patrick Mahomes NFL quarterback
Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes
NFL quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs

First Adidas memory: “[It] has to be my godfather, LaTroy Hawkins, being Team Adidas his entire career. I learned a lot from him at an early age that has stuck with me through my career.”

Favorite shoe: “Mahomes 2 is my No. 1. I’ve always loved my Ultraboost as well.”

Advice for young athletes: “Never give up. If you set your mind to something, you can achieve it. Don’t let anyone tell you different.”

Adidas Billie Jean King tennis icon
Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King
Tennis icon & gender equity activist

Favorite shoe: “I first had an Adidas shoe deal starting in 1970, but my best memory is the creation of my Billie Jean King signature shoe. I was the first woman athlete to have a signature sports shoe, and the blue suede shoe gained immediate fame when I wore the shoes in the historic ‘Battle of the Sexes’ match against Bobby Riggs in 1973. By 1973, color television was in wide use, and the 90 million people who saw the match on television worldwide loved blue shoes. [The shoes] were as smooth as they looked, and they were the first tennis shoe for men or women made in a color other than white.”

Advice for young athletes: “Believe in yourself and be willing to pay the price for greatness.”

Adidas Derrick Rose NBA player
Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose
NBA point guard, Memphis Grizzlies

First Adidas memory: “My first trip to the headquarters in Germany. I was able to touch their collection of archives, specifically Jesse Owens’ track shoe.”

Favorite shoe: “Other than mine — the Adidas D Rose line — my favorite is the Samba.”

Advice for young athletes: “A tree without roots cannot stand.”

Adidas Candace Parker
Candace Parker

Candace Parker
Retired WNBA star; president, Adidas Women’s Basketball

First Adidas memory: “Playing indoor soccer in elementary school and wearing the indoor Sambas.”

Favorite shoe: “My shoe, the Adidas Ace Commander and Ace Versatility.”

Advice for young athletes: “Focus on the process and the journey and don’t fall in love with the results. Some days you might see progress, but other days it might be hidden.”

Adidas Stan Smith tennis player
Stan Smith

Stan Smith
Tennis icon

First Adidas memory: “The first leather tennis shoe, created by Horst Dassler and Robert Haillet. It was high tech and, since we all wore lightweight canvas shoes without much support, it became the shoe everyone wanted to wear in competition.”

Favorite shoe: “That’s easy and obvious!”

Advice for young athletes: “I like ‘dream goals.’ These are called outcome goals such as wins, records, titles and rankings. They certainly motivated me to work hard and think big.”

Adidas Anthony Edwards NBA player
Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards
NBA shooting guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

First Adidas memory: “Adidas is a special brand that is so connected to sport that, as an athlete, it’s hard to remember a time where I didn’t know about the Three Stripes. I know I will never forget the moment they approached me to sign me as an athlete. They believed in me, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

Favorite shoe: “Everything Adidas makes is heat, but I have to go with my own signature sneaker, the AE 1. Having my own shoe is a dream come true and getting to work with the team at Adidas to build it just the way I wanted was incredible.”

Advice for young athletes: “It’s great to have a dream, but you must be willing to put in the work to make it a reality. I’m lucky to have people around me who have encouraged me to work hard in pursuit of my goals. If you’re willing to do the work, you can accomplish anything.”

Adidas Sarah Nurse ice hockey player
Sarah Nurse

Sarah Nurse
PWHL forward, Toronto; Canadian women’s national hockey team

First Adidas memory: “Definitely owning tear-away pants. I played a lot of soccer growing up and remember rocking them. I thought they were the absolute coolest.”

Favorite shoe: “My Adidas Samba Pony Tonal Wales Bonner. My other favorites are the Gazelle platforms in any color.”

Advice for young athletes: “Be willing to do things that other people may not be willing to do. And being 1 percent better might not seem like much, but it may be the difference in the end.”

Adidas Nora Vasconcellos skateboarder
Nora Vasconcellos

Nora Vasconcellos
Pro skateboarder

First Adidas memory: “Sitting in the first grade and seeing a kid wearing Sambas and really liking them. I started playing indoor soccer around the same time and wanted a pair. Shortly after, I discovered Missy Elliot and got a pair of Superstars with dark purple stripes. I felt very cool.”

Favorite shoe: “The Samba and Gazelle are so classic. I also like how low the profile of the shoe is. Very timeless.”

Advice for young athletes: “Work hard, but don’t forget to have fun. It’s the enjoyment that will keep you coming back for more.”

Adidas Trinity Rodman soccer player
Trinity Rodman

Trinity Rodman
NWSL forward, Washington Spirit; U.S. women’s national soccer team

First Adidas memory: “My first memory of Adidas is the cleats I wore on the field growing up. I wore the OG black and white Copas. I felt like it was the statement piece of Adidas and they were always my favorite ones to play in.”

Favorite shoe: “The Forums or the Gazelle Platforms.”

Advice for young athletes: “Stay true to yourself. Don’t mold your creativity and style of play to what you think others want.”

Adidas Aliyah Boston WNBA player

Aliyah Boston
WNBA forward, Indiana Fever

First Adidas memory: “I remember my dad always rocking Adidas shoes when growing up in St. Thomas.”

Favorite shoe: “Forums off the court. On the court: Damian Lillard’s Adidas Dame line, Donovan Mitchell’s D.O.N. Issue line and Candace Parker’s Adidas Exhibit Select CP.”

Advice for young athletes: “Trust God, trust His plan for you and have fun as you go through your journey to achieve your goal.”

Adidas Kristine Lilly soccer player
Kristine Lilly

Kristine Lilly
Retired pro soccer player

First Adidas memory: “I remember as a kid wearing Adidas cleats. They were not the leather ones and I remember I couldn’t wait for my foot to grow to get the leather Copas.”

Favorite shoe: “I love the shell toes, the original black stripes [Adidas Superstar]. I also loved the Gazelles back in the day and love that they are coming back.”

Advice for young athletes: “I tell young people to ‘always believe’ — believe in yourself and in others. I also say work hard and when you think you are working hard, work harder.”

Best of Footwear News

Sign up for FN's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.