Sneaker Culture in the Association - Part 6
QUEENS, NY – Sneaker Culture in the Association returns amid the NBA Conference Finals. We’ve seen some heavy heat hit the floor, and we’ll highlight all of them for you. LeBron faces another 3-2 deficit to the Boston Celtics; the world awaits how the King and his Cavaliers will respond. The Celtics and Rockets are one win away from the NBA Finals. The Warriors look to reclaim their composure and find their identity as they look to force Game 7. Let’s jump into the best kicks to hit the hardwood, team narratives, and sneaker talk.
Nike LeBron 15
The Narrative: LeBron James savors these moments. In true Capricorn demeanor, he remains poise and in control. He embraces the adversity, feeling as though he’s earned what he’s seeking when it stands before him. He was visibly fatiguedthroughout Game 5 despite quickly dispelling the notion of slowing down. Throughout the entire playoffs, he has put his head down and gone to work. There is always the illusion that he’s being defended well. 34 PPG on 55% shooting against Indiana, 34 PPG on 55% shooting against Toronto, and 32 PPG on 54% shooting on display against the Boston Celtics thus far. Ain’t nun over there. When facing elimination, LeBron James is 12-9. He’s averaged 33.5 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 7.3 APG in those games. The Celtics have capitalized on timely defensive stops. Morris and Smart have proven electric, active hands on defense, and aggressive on the perimeter. They bring size and embrace the roughhousing. You should marvel at LeBron’s ability to dictate the basketball game. He’ll facilitate, although often criticized for it. When his teammates perform, it’s all love. The rest of the Cavaliers need to convert on easy and open looks. Bron will find them.
Sneaker Talk: The LeBron 15 has been the most consistent shoe the entire NBA season. His teammates are always layered with their own player exclusives and neat colorways. Bron’s even gotten them suits to match. Close friends around the league benefit as well. Nike has done an impressive job keeping the signature at the top of the basketball sneaker realm. There isn’t another signature shoe in the NBA that compares, a close second would be Kyrie’s signature line. The LeBron 15 has always hit the hardwood in the WNBA too, making waves across the league’s best including Diana Taurasi, Aja Wilson, Brittney Griner, and Sylvia Fowles. Sue Bird and her squad have must-see heat, check the link.
Nike Kyrie Series
The Narrative: The Boston Celtics are electric when they set foot on the court. Comforted by their home floor, they stand 10-0 compared to their dismal road record throughout the playoffs. It shows their youth and energy they carry on a nightly basis doesn’t exactly overpower skill and experience. If they overcome the Cleveland Cavaliers and halt LeBron’s 8thconsecutive trip to the Finals, they’ll have to grow up quickly, again. They’ve managed up to this point. Even with LeBron’s level of energy in question, they’ll get his best shot in Game 6. Overcoming a 3-2 Celtics deficit before, he provided a memorable performance dominating Boston with 45 points and 15 rebounds. The Celtics need to apply the pressure to be successful. LeBron is the primary ball handler and premier threat from anywhere on the floor due to his passing ability. Hill isn’t much of a playmaker, Clarkson has struggled throughout the playoffs, and JR is streaky. The Celtics focus on making the smart play, which pays off when they build momentum. Although Tatum is highly skilled with the ball, they don’t have premium scorers such as their leader Kyrie Irving.
Sneaker Talk: The Kyrie 4 has been one of the most reliable sneakers this season too. Between interations 1-4, it might have more colorways than the LeBron 15. It boasts loudly, the color combinations are much livelier too. It reflects its headmaster, Kyrie Irving. Slick point-god with the filthiest handle in the NBA, the Kyrie series mixes it up with its concepts. Rookie sensation Jayson Tatum debuted the Nike Kyrie 4 “Green Lobster” in the Game 5 victory with 24 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. He passed Wilt and Magic for the 4thmost points by a rookie in NBA playoff history. These moments add new meaning to sneakers worn on the court. The kicks are inspired by the “Lobster” SB dunks from Boston-based Concepts.
Adidas vs Jordan Brand
The Narrative: The Houston Rockets are up 3-2 on the defending world champion Golden State Warriors. The Houston Rockets have actually defended the Golden State Warriors in the last two games. The Houston Rockets have kept the Dubs under 100 points in two consecutive bouts. The Houston Rockets have an opportunity to advance to the NBA Finals! In a gritty Game 5, Chris Paul finished the game on the bench after pulling his hamstring on a dribble drive. James Harden shot 0-11 from three, yet the Rockets narrowly pulled away in a 98-94 victory. It’s an opportune moment to revisit the OTG family’s key match-ups, X-factors, and series preview. Houston has managed to take the Dubs a few inches off their game, just enough to make them uncomfortable on a consistent basis. Eric Gordon’s staunch defense has applied pressure on the Golden State’s backcourt. Curry, Durant, and Thompson will make shots, even difficult attempts. The Rockets have contained the shooting onslaught, even the scheduled 3rdquarter eruption. Clint Capela has protected the paint, rebounded efficiently, and finished at the rim. PJ Tucker adds muscle and Trevor Ariza also brings the effort. Long arms, quick feet, and a constant feel the players on offense have been the recipe for limiting the Warriors’ offense. Friendly reminded of that time Chris Paul expressed his desire to relinquish ball handling duties, it hasn’t exactly proven correct. He’s still pounding the basketball alongside James Harden, but they’re both exceptional talents. GSW has struggled to keep in front of those two, targeting Steph Curry and switches in their favor.
Sneaker Talk: Although CP3 is still lacing up his signature shoes, he and PJ Tucker must have more heat than at least 40% of the NBA. Their combined collection is unfathomable. See below PJ’s Jordan XIV Ducks, LeBron 15 “Ohio State”, and custom Off White Hyperdunks. It’s a joy witnessing what he’ll pull out for the court on a nightly basis. He’s known to change pairs between halves, sometimes quarters. Take a look at PJ sneaker shopping with Complex!
Nike vs Adidas
The Narrative – The Golden State Warriors are one game away from elimination. Losing control of the game, subpar shooting, but especially lack of concentration were focal points that led to their demise Thursday night. In the closing moments of the game, Draymond Green fumbles a rebound. After a quick-second thought, impulse strikes and he takes a step before dishing off to teammate and securing a timeout. This sequence impedes the Warriors from advancing the ball to midcourt. Poor execution were their Achilles heel. The ball was inbounded to Steph Curry, after a couple dribbles its dished off to Green in the closing seconds. He fumbles the ball again, and the clock runs out. Iguodala missed another game, but not reason enough for them to blow the game. There’s a moment in the game where Coach Kerr is overheard consoling Durant. He recalls a moment where Phil Jackson encouraged Jordan to trust his teammates and feed the open player, rather than force another futile attempt. It was great advice, but Durant seemed intent on taking the game his way. Visibly distant, his body language screamed “not now Dad, just give me the rock.” Body language as whole seemed off. Quin Cook stepped onto the court in crucial game time, received an open look and fumbled it before missing a three-point attempt. Look for the Warriors to embody the Bay area’s frenetic energy and reclaim their composure. Anticipate a rematch in Houston, winner punches a ticket to the NBA Finals.
Sneaker Talk: Nike unveiled the new silhouette for the signature KD11. It has a new body similar to that of the Kobe signature series. It’s anticipated debut will probably occur with an NBA Finals trip. KD’s “What The” has been a staple since the KD4. It’s a technicolor mash-up of prior KD installations. Nick Young has brought vintage Adidas to the floor. He’s sported the Pro Model, Crazy BYW, and even “Benihana Hibachi” Adidas courtesy of Gilber Arenas. Steph Curry’s 5thinstallment is in full rotation on a nightly basis, still awaiting a sleeker look with better colorways. This warm gold-tint Under Armor Curry 5seems to do the trick.
Heavy Heat x Nightly Notables
Photo Courtesy: IG – slamkicks Air Jordan XIV “Ducks” – PJ Tucker
Photo Courtesy: IG – brkicks Nike LeBron 15 “Ohio State” – PJ Tucker
Photo Courtesy: IG – brkicks Nike Kyrie 4 “Green Lobster” – Jayson Tatum
Photo Courtesy: IG – brkicks Nike Hyperdunk “Off White” x The Shoe Surgeon – PJ Tucker
Photo Courtesy: IG – brkicks Nike Kyrie 4 PE – Jayson Tatum
We Salute You – Remembering Sante Fe Family & Community
Photo Courtesy: AP Photo/David J. Phillip
With the weather warming up around this time of year it means we’re deep in the playoffs and amid graduating season. Students look forward to the summer, prom, and a warm summer bridging the gap to new beginnings the following school year. About a half hour from Toyota Center resides Sante Fe High School. Its community suffered a mass shooting wounding 13 people – 10 lives were taken between eight students and two teachers. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta felt personally devastated by the attack, a native of a nearby town called Galveston. The Rockets honored the lives of the Sante Fe community by wearing patches on their jerseys. They hosted over 400 family members, students, education professionals, and first respondents in the key win over the defending champion Warriors. Texas-native Travis Scott addressed the community and Houston crowd, “We love you – Ya’ll are the strongest people on this earth, thank you for being heroes to all of us.” The NBA prides itself on being a change-agent for good around the world, embracing cultures, and providing a voice for its leaders. In a difficult time, The Sante Fe community finds solace in solidarity.
What did you wear this week? What did you hoop in?