China White: Nike honours heroin?

Are Nike continuing a line in narcotics inspired sneakers after the success of the “Skunk” Dunk shoes complete with stash pocket in the tongue? The new shoes seem to take their namesake from a highly potent type of heroin that originates from the Far East. “China White” is the name of the new shoes honouring basketball legend James LeBron and they could be the latest attempt by the sportswear giant to use subtle references (or not so subtle in the case of the “Skunk” Dunks) to mainstream drug culture in order to sell their merchandise. The “China White” type of heroin was much more widespread in the seventies and famously featured in Pulp Fiction when Uma Thurman snorts it thinking it is cocaine. 

The colour of the shoes is a mixture of white and a golden brown colour and the side of the heel of the shoes is marked with Chinese lettering. There does not seem to be any other reasons why these shoes would be called China White.  James once did refuse to sign a petition about the Chinese government’s involvement in the Darfur conflict, however for a celebrity to turn a blind eye to war crimes is deeply unfashionable and I doubt something that Nike would like to highlight.

James – who has been open about his marijuana use at university – was also the main star of a Nike advert in 2008, which featured individuals throwing a white powder in the air.

The advert also co-stars Lil Wayne, who seems to be one of the main advocates for US drug culture. The Loiusiana rapper has stated publicly that he enjoys recreational use of marijuana and on more than one occasion his tour bus has been stopped with large amounts of illicit narcotics onboard including cannabis, MDMA and cocaine. He has also released a song called I Can’t Feel My Face (warning extremely explicit lyrics). Lil Wayne is currently in prison for possession of an illegal weapon.

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