Last October, New Balance signed Syracuse college basketball recruit Darius Bazley in a $1,000,000 USD internship deal. The intern has since worked alongside New Balance to create his own 997 in a partnership that follows on from his $200,000 per year salary, assuming he is on an NBA roster in the second year and in the league each season after.
Dubbed "The Intern," the 997 sees a patriotic-inspired colorway made from premium suede with hints of leather and embroidery throughout. Red suede swathes the toe box and contrasts against the navy panelled uppers that wrap around the rest of the sneaker. A beige heel cup sits underneath the embroidered heel section, seeing "THE INTERN" inscribed across the pair.
The exclusive pair sits atop New Balance’s ENCAP sole unit, seen here in white with cream 997 branding printed on the side. Darius Bazley’s 997 and accompanying backpack are a celebration of "creativity and individuality," said the NBA hopeful in his "Reflecting on My New Balance Internship" letter.
Speaking on his experience, Bazley added, "I will not only be one of the most knowledgeable athletes on the sneaker industry, I will also have my own personal marketing tactics that I gained from my experience at New Balance (a magician never reveals his secrets)."
No word has been announced yet whether the New Balance 997 "The Intern" will stay as a Darius Bazley-seeded sneaker, or if it will see a wider release alongside its accompanying multi-colored backpack.
For more colorful New Balances, take a look at the soon-releasing Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 997.
— New Balance Basketball (@nbhoops) March 28, 2019