Sneaker Culture in the Association – Part 1
QUEENS, NY – Are you wearing my kicks tonight? I imagine this very question has been uttered among the NBA elite countless times within the locker room before tip-off. The NBA is a fraternity. For the most part, these guys have been competing against each other since they were children. They’re bound by banana boats, kinship, school days, common sponsorships, the list goes on. Thaddeus Young will be the first to tell you it’s all about supporting your guy. Before PG packed his bags for OKC, he made sure the entire Pacers squad were laced with his first signature shoe, the PG 1. I’ve always been fascinated with what players wear on the court, more so than what they wear off the court. If your teammates aren’t rocking your latest heat, are they willing to rotate in time on the defensive end so you aren’t slam-danced by James Johnson? Let’s take a look at the most recent feet heat on the hardwood - who’s on top, and which signature shoe is getting the most love. PJ Tucker, Lance Stephenson, and Montrezl Harrell, we salute you!
Nike LeBron 15
The Narrative: LeBron James has been otherworldly this season. We’ve marveled at his performance this deep into his career. 15 years on the bill, 33 years young. He’s on pace to join Oscar Robertson, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook as the only players in the history of the game to average 27 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds. Although James Harden is the frontrunner in the MVP race, The King has made his case. He’s also on track play all 82 games for the first time in his career. The Cavaliers have an opportunity to hit the 50-win mark, LeBron is on a mission to see it all the way through. On the hardwood, he’s just showing off. The Nike LeBron 15 is one of the best of his signature line. The colorways have been lively, in tune with history and current events, as well as unique to personality. Nike has replicated versions of the beloved Air Max 95, into modified versions of the LeBron 15. LeBron on the Airmax 95 Neon, “Another one of my favorite kicks growing up – didn’t have them back then, couldn’t afford them.” Other players have laced them up nightly, Markelle Fultz in his late season return has donned a pair already. You can always find exclusive colorways on Eric Bledsoe of the Milwaukee Bucks; close friend of The King and part of the Klutch Sports family.
Adidas Harden Vol. 2
The Narrative: Let’s backtrack to the beginning of the season. NBA pundits were nonbelievers when it came to the newly forged backcourt of CP3 and The Beard. Paul made his impressions of the Clippers organization clear. He also expressed his desire to relinquish control of the basketball. He was looking to engage more on the wing, free himself of those ball handling duties. The result? Fast-forward about 6 months and we have another outstanding MVP campaign by James Harden. The Houston Rockets sit atop the NBA landscape at 62-15. Harden’s 30.6 points per is a league best, he is also third in assists at 8.8 on a nightly basis. The Harden Vol. 2 has made waves around the league and beyond. Young phenom Zion Williamson sported a pair during the All-American game, and Kelly Oubre Jr. laces them up on a nightly basis too.
Jordan Brand/Nike – Lance Stephenson
The Narrative: The Eastern Conference playoff picture isn’t officially locked in just yet. The Sixers have been on a tear, rolling off 10 straight wins late in the season. They’re closing in on 3rd in the Eastern Conference barring a Cavaliers collapse. If so, we could be fortunate enough to experience a first-round match-up between the sort’ve reinvented Cavaliers and blue-collar Indiana Pacers. Enter – LeBron James vs Lance Stephenson. We’re all here for this match-up. Lance’s theatrics have always annoyed The King, whether he likes to admit it or not. There won’t be a shortage of feet heat. Statistically, Lance hasn’t been an MVP candidate - nor will he ever be. Despite this truth, he has reigned supreme this season with his sneaker collection. Vintage, rarities, new age – he’s pulled off all the stops, and giving PJ Tucker a real fight for the sneaker crown. Keep your eyes on what Lance wears on any given night.
The Narrative: The narrative? There is no “narrative” when it comes to PJ Tucker and sneakers. Those Kobe 6 Barcelona’s? Retail for at least $2,000. He is the undisputed sneaker champ on and off the court, period. Just enjoy.
It’s been an exciting year so far. The NBA is thriving – breaking storylines, incredible narrative, and moving dialogue. The athletes are showing out on the court, the upcoming playoffs should be a treat. We’ll be keeping an eye on all feet heat.
What did you wear this week? What did you hoop in?
Olivier - @WhatOlivierSees