Remembering Kobe: His Sneaker Legacy
Today is a sad day, as we mourn the loss of one of the greatest basketball players to ever hit a NBA court. Kobe Bryant, 18x time All Star, 15x All-NBA, 12x All-Defensive, 2x Scoring Champ, 2007 MVP, 5x NBA Champ and a 2x Finals MVP, has died at 41.
Now, we take a look at the history of Kobe’s sneaker game and what he did in these sneakers that made them so special. From his rookie days in Adidas kicks, to his move to Nike where his ‘Mamba Mentality’ was born, to his last game where everything ‘Fades To Black.’
We will miss you Kobe, thank you for everything.
The Beginning: Adidas
Adidas Elevation EQT
In the 1996 NBA Draft, Kobe Bryant was selected with the 13th overall pick then immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac and thus his legacy was born. Kobe signed with Adidas and at 18 was given his first signature colorway on the Adidas Elevation EQT. In this sneaker, Kobe was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team and won the 1997 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
The Adidas KB8 was Kobe’s first official signature sneaker, now named the crazy 8. In now his second season, Kobe recieved more minutes and became the youngest player to named an All-Star game starter at the age of 19.
Adidas KB II
Year 3 for Kobe brought out signature number 2. The KB II was the last shoe that featured the ‘Feet You Wear’ technology which was the new design principle based on the concept of natural motion for a shoe that acted as an extension of the wearer’s foot. Kobe was now a full time starter for the Lakers but sadly only played 50 games due to the shortened NBA lockout season.
Adidas KB III
A model Kobe wore briefly was the KB III. Most noteable thing about this shoe is how Kanye West was insipred by the design of the sneaker and used the same design in the midsole of his Yeezy 500.
Adidas: The Kobe
Now named the Crazy 1, The Kobe was modeled to look like the Audi TT Roadster. Kobe averaged a career high 28.5 points and led the Lakers to the finals. The most noteable moment in these shoes was when Jalen Rose, who has now admitted it was intentional, placed his foot under Kobe as he went up for a jumpshot. Kobe then landed on his foot and tweaked his ankle thus leading him to miss a game. But, that wasn’t enough as he came back and won his first NBA Championship.
Adidas: The Kobe 2
Widely regarded as the ugliest Kobe ever was the Adidas Kobe 2. Kobe wore the shoe for a majority of the season but he disliked the comfort of the shoe and opted to rock the original The Kobe for the finals. Where he of course earned championship number 2.
Sneaker Free Agency
After the summer of 2002, Kobe paid a reported $8 Million dollars to get out of his adidas contract but the stipulations of the buyout stated that Kobe couldn’t sign with another brand until 2003. This gave fans and sneakerheads the chance to see Kobe play in any shoe he wanted to… and he didn’t disappoint.
Nike Air Force 1 Mid
AND1 Desire Mid
Air Jordan 6 Low ‘Black/Silver’
Converse Weapon ‘Lakers’
Air Jordan 17
Air Jordan 12 ‘Flint Grey’
Air Jordan 12 ‘French Blue’
Reebok Question ‘Purple Toe’
Air Jordan 3 ‘True Blue’
Air Jordan 11 ‘Concord’
Air Jordan 7 ‘Away PE’
Air Jordan 8 ‘Home PE’
Air Jordan 3 ‘Home PE’
Nike Air Flight Huarache PE ‘Home’
Mamba Mentality: Nike
Nike Zoom Air Huarache 2K4 and 2K5
Not much to be said about Kobe’s first 2 years with Nike as his legal troubles forced Nike to hold off on giving him a signature sneaker. For the time being, he rocked the Huarache 2K4 and 2K5.