Nyjah Huston's "Just Do It" Year
Nyjah Huston is allowing himself to think big between now and spring 2018, when Nike is scheduled to release his long-awaited signature shoe. So far in 2017, he's already won the Red Bull Hart Lines contest in Detroit and the season-opening Street League Skateboarding Pro Open in Barcelona. It's a given that he plans to take down the entire 2017 Street League series and pick up his 8th Skateboard Street gold at X Games Minneapolis 2017. No, he's thinking bigger still.
"The video part I'm working on now will come out at the same time as the shoe, and I'm aiming for a shut-the-haters-down-forever, career-defining moment," Huston says. That's a bold goal for someone who's already released multiple memorable parts. He's stacking clips and says the part is being filmed exclusively in California, at his favorite spots around Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County. He wants to give the core skaters who vote for Thrasher Magazine's Skater of the Year no choice but to finally name him SOTY in 2018. He also wants to prove to the rest of the world that he's worthy of the Swoosh and all that comes with it.
"I've been told that less than one percent of the athletes Nike has endorsed in the last 45 years have been given a signature shoe," Huston says. "So this is bigger than skateboarding, and the pressure is on. This is Michael Jordan territory, you know? You walk around the Nike campus and everywhere you're seeing posters of dudes like John McEnroe, Bo Jackson, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, LeBron James, some of the greatest athletes ever. This is putting my name into that conversation, and I'm taking it very seriously."
- DOB: 11/30/1994. Age: 22.
- 7 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze from his 14 X Games Skateboard Street appearances. He also owns X Games Real Street gold for this banger-filled 2012 video part.
- He has grown up at X Games -- his first appearance was as a fresh-faced, dread-locked 11-year-old at Los Angeles 2006, where he made the Final and finished 8th. "I'm twice as old now," he says. "That's crazy."
- After settling for silver behind Ryan Decenzo on the rainy X Games Austin 2016 Street course, Huston is happy about the move to an indoor venue at Minneapolis' U.S. Bank Stadium. "I love Austin, but damn the weather sucked. It was such a mission with the rain last year!"
- While Huston said Decenzo deserved the XG gold moments after the contest ended, he did post the following on Instagram later that same evening: "Blew it today by not trying something harder in my last run! I hate making dumbass decisions like that." Yeah, it's safe to say that he'll be motivated in Minneapolis.
- Skateboarders Paul Rodriguez, Eric Koston and Stefan Janoski each have signature shoes from Nike SB. While Huston waits for his own to drop (it will be his first signature shoe since leaving DC Shoe Co. for Nike at the end of 2015), he'll be wearing the new Nike SB Blazer Vapor at X Games Minneapolis. "We've been working on my shoe for two years now because we want to get it right," Huston says. "I've been very involved in the design process since the beginning, and it's only made me more of a sneaker freak."
- His current favorite, when he's not skating? Nike's Kyrie 3, the signature shoe for Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.
- Fully-customized cars are another favorite indulgence. This year's addition to the collection: a 2017 Mercedes-Benz C63, which he immediately took to Paul Roberts at Shoreline Motoring for a custom wrap and detailing, as he's done with all of his whips.
- Tattoos, too: Nyjah's now sporting full sleeves on both arms, an upper chest piece and a new neck piece done by Austin-based BMX rider and tattoo artist Thomas Hooper at his Rock of Ages shop.
- He's also thinking about the Olympics. "Ever since they announced skateboarding was coming to the 2020 Olympics I've known it's something I plan to be part of, and now it's always in the back of my mind. A year or two from now, I expect to be in full training mode getting ready for Tokyo. That's definitely a gold medal I need for my collection."
- On the X Games "Shred Hate" campaign: "I should probably be the poster person for Internet hate in skateboarding, but it would just bring out even more haters. I've been getting the most vile, horrible hate thrown at me since I was, like, 7 years old. I try to just brush it off and use it as fuel to keep improving. Sometimes it gets to me, though. Like, dang, what's a guy got to do to not get hated on? I'm skating my ass off out here."
- Nyjah has shut down the doubters before. Once thought of as just a contest kid, he followed up his X Games 2012 Real Skate video with one of the most ground-breaking skateboard parts of all time, released in fall 2013.
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