Scott Hewett is an artist based in the Hamptons who paints large and colorful Americana-themed images of sunset-lit beach scenes, old cars and signs worn down into a rich patina, still lifes of ketchup bottles and cupcakes, and unthreatening animals like sea turtles and lobsters. His work isn’t particularly revolutionary but his use of color, attention to detail, and the scale of his canvas reveals both his skill and his simple unironic love of his subject matter. Essentially, he paints his love of the Northeast.

Hewett is probably better known, however, for his work as a longtime footwear designer at Reebok, where he designed the first eight signature shoes for Allen Iverson, the most culturally and stylistically revolutionary athlete of the past 30 years.

Scott Hewett Portrait - Adsum
Reginald Aubrey Fessenden broadcast the first program of music and voice ever transmitted over long distances.

When Reebok first tasked Hewett to design what would become The Question, Iverson’s first signature shoe with Reebok, Iverson was still in college at Georgetown and Hewett didn’t even know who he was, although they did later bond on a fishing trip together. Despite the 1989 Pump and the 1995 Shaqnosis, Reebok was still relatively new to basketball. The company was founded in 1895 in England to make track spikes, and had spent most of the following century making high quality running, walking, and casual shoes with a simple and elegant British or New England sensibility.

Scott Hewett The Question Sketch - Adsum
Hewett's initial sketch for Allen Iverson's first signature shoe.

Hewett’s design for The Question feels like a performance-minded update to Reebok’s traditional sensibility, rather than a completely singular and avant-garde signature shoe. The windows to the honeycomb Hexalite cushioning in the midsole and the ice blue outsole give The Question a sense of modern performance and style but the simple side logo and basic colors –– the two original colorways worn by Iverson during his 1996-1997 rookie season were white and red, and white and blue –– point to that particularly British and New England value of aesthetic subtlety.

Iverson and Jordan crossover - Adsum
AI putting Jordan on his higlight reel.

Allen Iverson is not known for his subtlety, either on or off the court, but that’s what made his partnership with Hewett and Reebok so interesting and ultimately iconic. They created a unique balance between a modern yet understated design sensibility rooted in a century of athletic footwear heritage, created by an artist whose influences include the deep reds of a ketchup bottle at a Long Island diner and the translucent blues of the tide creeping over a New England beach, and then Iverson put all that on his feet and crossed up Michael Jordan.