Basketball

Artist TYP Reimagines Iconic SLAM Allen Iverson Cover with ‘Rhetorical Question’ Sculpture

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To replicate art is one thing, but to completely reimagine an iconic SLAM 150 cover featuring Allen Iverson is another thing. Now picture that on an even grander scale: a massive sculpture that looks so realistic, you’d think it was carved out of stone.

Seeing is believing, and artist Troy Murray, who goes by the name TYP, has created just that and more: his latest work, titled “Rhetorical Question” depicts a realistic portrait of the NBA legend and even features sculpted Reebok Questions that were molded and casted from the actual kicks. 

When the Detroit-native pulls up to our office in Long Island City, he reveals that his artwork represents his early childhood memories of watching Iverson, who was his favorite player growing up, and begging his parents to buy him his own pair of kicks. He also got a subscription to SLAM when he was 12, and would keep issues on his bedside table. 

“Everybody has this memory of that AI cover,” TYP says. “Anybody that loves basketball has a memory. I was able to tell my version of the memory through that piece.” 

TYP says it takes him about two weeks to create each piece. He begins by sketching the portrait on Procreate to get an idea of the color scheme and textures he wants to incorporate. When it’s time to build the sculpture, he starts by creating the shape of the piece using foam and wood, and then sprays a light layer of concrete on top. To give it that rocky, aged-look, he casts and molds different elements of the piece, like the sneakers, out of a clay that hardens into a proxy, and then sands it down.

Shop Allen Iverson SLAM Cover Tees here.

His journey into developing his own distinct style started with a different pair of kicks, the Jordan 1s. After focusing primarily on drawing portraits, he wanted to explore an entirely new medium when he picked up a sneaker box one day. “I just saw how [the Jordan 1s] were sitting in there, and I just thought that if I just pattern those in the right way they could make a pretty relatively even painting surface for me. So I tried it and it worked.”

He would take pairs of kicks and quite literally cut them in half to use in his artwork. Yes, you read that right. “That original one, we were like, this is kind of crazy. We were just cutting these sneakers in half, but once we did it once [and] we cut one sneaker and started to actually piece it together and pattern it we were like, this is so dope. This is gonna work.” 

Eventually though, TYP’s friend Anthony let him know that instead of cutting them up, he could just mold them and replicate as many pairs as he wanted. Learning the entire molding and casting process, put things into perspective that he could now create his art on an even larger scale. 

By turning a real SLAM cover into a real-life sculpture, TYP has captured the very epitome of how art, basketball, history and human connection all intersect. .“I wanted to play off of the question and the answer here. I always thought that was so cool as a kid that he had a sneaker. That was the Question, the nickname was The Answer. And so the name of the piece was a Rhetorical Question. And the whole narrative was based around this, he’s always been the answer.”


Photos by Marcus Stevens.

Artist TYP Reimagines Iconic SLAM Allen Iverson Cover with ‘Rhetorical Question’ Sculpture SLAM.

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