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Documentary: Tennis icon Stan Smith is much more than a cool sneaker

Documentary: Tennis icon Stan Smith is much more than a cool sneaker

The theatrical release of "Who Is Stan Smith?" premieres in New York and Los Angeles movie theaters today with wider release across the country on May 10th. The tennis documentary was produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter featuring interviews with a bevy of stars including John McEnroe and Pharrell. 

In an interview with the USTA, Smith says, "There's a bit of a mystery with my name, whether there's really a person behind it." He adds, "I was fortunate to be in that era with the transition from amateur tennis in 1968 to Open tennis, and there was a lot going on during that time."

Above: Stan Smith seen chatting with a fan at last year's US Open wearing a very cool pair of green Stan Smith sneakers. Photo by Todd Pechter for Florida Tennis.

The former Wimbledon champ enjoyed a fascinating life which Emmy-winning filmmaker Danny Lee explores in this documentary. "We all know the shoe. We all know the name," Lee explains. "But let's unpack the mythology behind the shoe."

The film examines Smith's friendship with Davis Cup teammate Arthur Ashe, the tumultuous world at the height of his success on-court, his touching relationship with wife Margie, his humanitarian efforts, and (of course) the iconic shoe with adidas. 

Above: A look at the official movie poster. Source:

The film even includes footage of Smith's tennis academy in Hilton Head, South Carolina. As part of Lee's movie prep, he had the pleasure of hitting with the former no. 1 and recalls Smith giving him a tip on hitting a one-handed backhand: "It's like unsheathing a sword, where you have your thumb in your left pocket.”

But Stan Smith wasn't just a tennis technician. A recent article in The Guardian cites, "[Stan Smith's] improbable emergence as a style icon – a SoCal James Bond, Sean Connery in country club kit." His iconic mustache, "was part of a sandy-haired, cerulean-eyed 6ft 4in all-American package." After all, long before, "Nike reduced Michael [Jordan] to a Jumpman silhouette, Adidas was hawking Stan Smiths."

And this isn't just a movie for the trendy sneakerheads out there. According to the Guardian's Andrew Lawrence, "Lee’s film caters more to tennis geeks who have long admired Smith’s serve-and-volley game and his equally relentless commitment to social justice causes."

Movie Trailer


Source: USTA; The Guardian. Video: Top Photo: adidas.

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