15 June 2015

Nike Kobe IX Elite "What the Kobe" - The Code

Nike Kobe IX Elite "What the Kobe"
I saw these late last year and I wanted these mainly because they look like Nike Air MAG's.  Okay, they look a little like the MAG's...could we at least agree that the logo on the side look similar?

At $250, I hesitated on purchasing these.  Current prices are in the $300-$350 range, and up.  But a pair recently came up on eBay at a reasonable price (below original price), it was new and unworn with no box.  Yeah, I bought a pair.

New shoes for me
Upon receiving the shoes, I did a quick inspection to make sure everything was legit.  Like a great movie, there are many little details that you will notice the more times you look at it. I like reflective material. I bought a Nike Wind Runner jacket, as featured at the 2012 London Olympic Games, because the whole damn thing is reflective.  This Nike Kobe IX Elite has reflective Swoosh logos and tongue logo.  It also has reflective strands in the laces.  Note that the shoe is mainly white with orange and green accents.  Well, the aglets...or 'flugelbinder', if you are familiar with Cocktails...match, with one being green, the other orange.  Yes, I just wanted to say 'flugelbinder'.

Eric Avar's sketch of the Nike Kobe IX

One thing I noticed was there is a series of dots, almost like Braille, but not, on the missole of the shoe.  Now, I am not familiar with the Kobe line of shoes.  But apparently Kobe Bryant and the Nike designers like to put coded messages on the Kobe line of shoes.

I did a little research and found that for the Kobe IX, designer Eric Avar continued this trend with a coded message.  Here is quote about the code which I found on the Nike site.

Nike Designer Eric Avar and Kobe Bryant
KOBE INSIGHT #9: KEEP PEOPLE GUESSING.Eric Avar: “Let’s include the Kobe code.”
Performance result: Small details matter, both in basketball and design. The Kobe code is featured on each shoe, both on the lateral (outside) and medial (inside) sides of the midsole. Code on lateral side translates to: ‘Masterpiece.’ Code on medial side translates to ‘Veni, vidi, vici,’ an inspirational Latin phrase that translates to “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
Code translates to "MASTERPIECE"
The system of dots on a three-by-three grid is 'on or off'.  With nine positions, this on/off variation can give us two to the ninth power, or 512 combinations.  More than enough for letters and numbers.

I tried to 'de-code' the code, to see if there was an actual alphabet and, noticed that there is an error in the code.

Code is supposed to translate to "VENI, VIDI, VICI"
If you look at the symbols above, the first letter of each word is a "V".  It looks like dots arranged in an arrow, pointing towards the upper right.  The last letter of each word is "I", this looks like an arrow pointing towards the lower right.

Now, look at the "E", second letter in first word.  This matches the three E's in "MASTERPIECE".  All the dots are on except for position 3, the upper right is off.

Here is where the error is.  If you look a the second word, it should be 'VIDI'.  But based on the alphabet already established, it actually reads, "VEDI".  Note the 'E' where it should be an 'I'.  I even looked up "veni, vedi, vici" and Google corrected me.

Did you mean: veni VIDI vici

Well, there is an entry in the Urban Dictionary, but you cannot trust the public with spelling, especially with spelling a foreign word.  The site credits 'VEDI" with the Marlboro Man.  If there was ever a reason not to smoke, this is it.

I can see the ease of making this error.  You have a well known Latin phrase that needed to be written in modern English. Some say it was already written in the modern English as it is based on the Latin alphabet.  Anyway, they had to apply it to their special code.  So, someone forgot to do a little fact checking and spellchecking before going into production of these shoes.

These shoes have been out for about six months and (I am guessing) in development for about a year before that.  Did anyone at Nike notice this mistake?  I am sure other sneakerheads have blogs and forums on this, I am too lazy to look into it.  So, I am claiming to be the first to discover this...for now.

Available in multiple colourways

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