Fundamentals: Nick DePaula on Sneaker Culture and the NBA

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Welcome to the latest episode of Fundamentals with Ian Thomas, a Front Office Sports interview show featuring leading operators and voices of the sports industry.

Today’s guest is Nick DePaula, NBA features writer at ESPN. At ESPN, he covers the footwear industry and shoe deals, while interviewing signature sneaker designers and the players themselves. DePaula appears frequently on “The Jump” with Rachel Nichols and “Outside The Lines” to discuss industry news, and also co-hosted the new show “Sneaker Center” on ESPN+.

Note: If you’re having any issues with watching the stream on this page, we also live stream the interview on Periscope, via the Front Office Sports Twitter account.

More about Nick DePaula…
(Extended bio courtesy

Prior to his time at ESPN, as Creative Director of Nice Kicks, DePaula helped lead efforts around all published content, with a platform reaching 3 million Instagram followers, over 1 million Facebook fans and over 800,000 Twitter followers.

He has also worked as a brand & athlete marketing consultant for the world’s top industry leading brands. Prior to ESPN, he wrote for The Vertical, the basketball-centric Yahoo Sports site headlined by best-in-class reporter Adrian Wojnarowski.

During his time at Sole Collector, he set direction and managed all content published across multiple platforms, which included a quarterly US print Issue available at Foot Locker, Barnes & Nobles and global sneaker boutiques, a monthly iPad Newsstand Issue, monthly China print Issue and top read online magazine. After launching the digital magazine in 2007, traffic grew to a monthly reach of 7 million unique visitors and 45 million page views by the end of 2013.

He has conducted designer and athlete feature interviews with Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Penny Hardaway, Ken Griffey Jr, Jerry Rice, Bo Jackson, Tinker Hatfield, Eric Avar, Marc Dolce, Aaron Cooper and many, many others.

Beyond writing, he also led the Sole Collector team in all collaborative footwear & accessory projects, including the 5-model $1000 Nike Penny Signature Pack and Nike Las Vegas launch event, along with 20 additional Sole Collector collaborations over the years.

After growing up in Sacramento, California with a passion for basketball, hoops culture and shoes, Nick attended the University of Oregon, where he received a Bachelors of Science degree in Journalism: Magazine, as well as a Business Minor and Communications Minor.

He currently resides in Portland, Oregon, where he enjoys the exceptional restaurant scene, design community and being a behind-the-back pass proponent at local 24-Hour Fitness pickup runs.