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  • Olivier Auguste

Sneaker Culture in the Association - Series Return!

QUEENS, NY – The state of the NBA has never been better as the culture thrives. Young stars continue to emerge, catapulting the game to unforeseen levels. Giannis is a thrill to watch, Devin Booker is only 22-years-old, Jokic is enhancing the 5 position, and Joel Embiid is almost the pettiest player to ever come across the league. He's entertaining, but still working towards David Robinson's 71-point-game-type-of-petty.

The pace and space have captivated booming audiences around the world. The scoreboards are running up on a nightly basis. The league continues to embrace change which positively affects viewership. Our favorite athletes engage freely as we experience every single aspect of this game of basketball.

Nike LeBron Series

Photo Courtesy: brkicks – Nike LeBron 16 PE/solecollector – Nike LeBron 16 “1 Thru 5”

The Narrative: The Los Angeles Lakers are young and LeBron might have forgotten. They’re off to a rocky start, which should’ve been expected. A Rondo-Paul 3-Piece Special and an abysmal defense – the Lakers will likely still find its groove.

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers hatched a four-year plan to bring the Larry O’Brian trophy to its heralded franchise once more. Adding to the city’s trophy case would cement Bron’s legacy. Three different franchises, three different championships, three different eras. A seat at the table, beloved by the purple and gold for eternities to come.

He’s been tasked with leading the young guns, nurturing their skillset, and asserting confident demeanors across the locker room. Not a “I’m 21 and I can hoop because I’m on the Lakers”– rather the type of confidence one needs to knock down a corner three to close a quarter.

The type of confidence it takes to get consistent stops on defense followed by executed buckets on the opposite end. The type of confidence imperative to winning playoff games. Is this culmination of talent capable of this type of focus?

Through nine games LeBron is averaging: 27.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 7.9 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field. Things will fall into place as the season progresses. Coach Walton is tweaking the line-up consisting of Ball, Ingram, James, Kuzma, and McGee. This Lakers bunch has to commit to the defense end of the basketball if they want to complete late into the spring.

The Lakers are ranked 30th in points allowed per post-ups, 29th in isolation scenarios, and tied for 28th on pick plays (Second Spectrum). They must clean up the defensive end of the floor. Their optimism lies on the opposite end for good reason. They currently rank 7th in offensive efficiency, 1st in fast-break PPG, and 4th in FG percentage.

That optimism may fade to black sooner than later. The Hall-of-Fame mogul, Magic Johnson, firmly reprimanded the coach for their recent winless road trip.

"I give you LeBron James and this is what you have to show for it?!" - is likely how it went, along with much more explicit language. Looks like Coach Walton is already in the end game now. So much so, he's already hit us with his version of the notes app apology. When opening up his job security, Walton shared:

"I have a great relationship with management. I feel like I'm coming down here to do my job and coach. I don't feel like I'm going anywhere."

First order of business for Coach Walton and the Lakers organization since the scolding: sign Tyson Chandler!

Sneaker Talk: #LeBronWatch was one of the better experiences from last season. The King laced up 51 different versions of the LeBron 15. This year’s iteration features a sleeker, lighter design with room for exploration. We’ve already seen some neat colorways make way on the floor. ESPN’s Nick DePaula confirmed Nike’s color stories will unfold in a way it hasn’t before, regardless of the jersey The King is sporting. The league's removal of team color restrictions to sneaker wear is a gift. Steady, creative storytelling is in store for the LeBron 16 as he continues to make history.

Nike KD Series

Photo Courtesy: brkicks – Nike KD 11 PE/Nike KD 11 PE

The Narrative: The Golden State Warriors are on top and they’re stuck. That’s just how they’re living it up. Steve Kerr has been candid about this potential last run, We aren't buying what he's selling. At least, I’m not. Their offense is simply combustible, a gasoline-soaked minefield waiting to explode. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson are flame-throwing marksmen launching the ball with expert accuracy.

Two fifty-point games, a record-setting 14 made three-point field goals, a 25-point quarter – They are actually just getting warmed up. They are competing with themselves, breaking their own record and pace. The state of the league reflects the most points since the 69-70 season, the most possessions since the 85-86 season, and the most 3-pt FGA attempts ever.

They have the blueprint and the vanguard in Stephen Curry. He revolutionized the game once more, it's worth acknowledging whether you love or hate him. Another all-time great shooter completes the backcourt and an all-time great player in Kevin Durant. The league has succumbed to the Warriors style of play. It's their world, everyone else is just living in it.

Oh, they have a guy committed to the defensive end too. Draymond Green wants all parts – gunning for another Defensive Player of the Year award. While addressing the media, Draymond shared:

“I need that. I need that bad, real bad. I made Second-All Defense team last year, I’m pissed about that, still. I’ll be pissed until I right that. So, that’s a serious goal of mine this year and I’m on it every night.”

This team is enjoying the moment while looking to elevate their dynasty, but there’s more to it. Kevin Durant made clear he wants all the money bags and squashed the mere thought of taking another pay cut. Draymond feels the sentiment. With a few incentives in play, he'll qualify for the supermax extension worth $235 million over 5 years in the offseason.

Green can make an All-NBA First, Second, or Third Team this season. Possible, but the west is too stacked with with a bank of talent. He can win the MVP, which is highly unlikely. The only remaining incentive is the DPOY award. It's right up his alley. The plot will thicken for this Warriors team and the west as the season unfolds.

Sneaker Talk: The KD 11 is finally making rounds around the hoops world and within the association. It’s low cut silhouette has grown on players as they lace up different colorways early into the season. Always in touch with the many cultures surrounding the game, Nike is celebrating The Chinese Zodiac with its latest KD 11 iteration. The Flyknit fit and React cushioning adds a layer of comfort to style. Expect a ton of Nikeid designs and exclusive colorways from Nike athletes all season.

Nike Kobe Series

Photo Courtesy: slamkicks – Nike Kobe AD Exodus PE/Nike Kobe AD Exodus PE

The Narrative: The Boston Celtics pulled off a daring victory against the Milwaukee Bucks, undefeated headed into their contest. Kyrie Irving is finding his groove since the unveiling of his signature Kyrie 5 designed by Yung Taco. Kyrie's signature low-cut caesar made its debut as well earlier this week, ditching the "Frobe" guise. Gordon Hayward is playing well, a great sighting for this Celtics squad.

Despite falling to the Boston Celtics Friday night, Giannis has lifted the Bucks as an early contender for the Eastern Conference crown. 7-1 and sitting in 2nd place in the conference. Their stout defense and motion offensive has augmented Giannis' scoring and playmaking ability.

Through seven games, he’s tallied 26.1 points per, 13.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists and shooting 52.1 percent from the field. He’s even embraced the three-ball. It hasn’t dropped early, but expect adjustments. The floor is spread, but similar to Ben Simmons, Giannis is his own enemy on the floor at the moment.

Both players are skillful tacticians capable of using sheer force to power through the lane and score at will. They will need to incorporate a reliable, respectful defense to keep defenses honest. Expect the 76ers and Bucks to fill the need for shooters as the season progresses. Kyle Korver and J.R Smith are on the market. Brook Lopez and Joel Embiid can spread the floor for so long.

Sneaker Talk: The Nike Kobe signature line might be the most exciting in the league. They’re especially popular among the association’s youngest athletes. They happen to be some of the most promising too, already asserting themselves among the elite. The Greek Freak, Kyle Kuzma, Luka Doncic, and Jayson Tatum are some who sport them on a nightly basis with the coldest colorways. It's become far too common an instance where Kobe's direct tutelage has influenced a rising star. It's occurred through training, coaching, and mentorship. The Mamba Mentality lives on.

Don't Sleep On This!

The Indiana Pacers are 3rd in the Eastern Conference, 7-3 through their first ten games.

The Washington Wizards haven't started playing basketball yet this season. They sit at the bottom of the league standings at 1-7. They are tied for the 26th worst 3-pt FG pct at 32 percent, 27th in rebounding at 41.3, and last in Opp RPG. If you watch the tape, it comes down to effort. There isn't much of it so far. Adding a healthy Dwight Howard might afford Wall and Beal a few healthy looks, defensive presence, and rebounding. Time will tell if the usual drama will unfold with Howard's presence, the Wizards have enough of it between the front office and locker room.

Luka Doncic stat-line: 19.4 points per, 6.6 rebounds per, 4.6 assists per. He is flirting with 20-5-5 through nine games. It'll be interesting to see if this is viable throughout the marathon of an NBA season.

The Denver Nuggets are 2nd in the Western Conference with an 8-1 record. After their victory over the Utah Jazz, they improve to 5-0 on their home floor. They finished the game on a 35-15 run, stifling the Jazz to only 88 points scored. Their defense has held opponents under 100 points five times this season and they boast top tier defensive ratings. Nikola Jokic had 16 assists in the impressive win. He's averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 7.7 assists on 51.9 percent shooting from the field this season.

🔥 Heavy Heat 🔥

Photo Courtesy: brkicks – Air Jordan IX "Motorboat Jones" Lance Stephenson

Photo Courtesy: brkicks – BBB ZO2.19 Lonzo Ball

Photo Courtesy: brkicks – Adidas Pro Bounce Low – Zach Lavine

Photo Courtesy: brkicks – Reebok Questions Mid – Taurean Prince

Photo Courtesy: brkicks – Puma Clyde Court Disrupt “X-Ray” – Deandre Ayton

Photo Courtesy: brkicks – Air Jordan 5 “PSG” – PJ Tucker

Photo Courtesy: brkicks – Nike Kyrie 5 – Kyrie Irving

Photo Courtesy: brkicks – Jerry Lorenzo x Nike Air Fear of God 1 – PJ Tucker

The Sneaker Culture in the Association series is back to keep you updated on the best kicks to hit the hardwood this season. We'll be discussing X’s and O’s and keeping in touch with the culture.

Leaders of the sport are expressing themselves and sharing what matters. Adam Silver leads a powerhouse of creatives, influencers, philanthropists, activists, and savvy business(wo)men who consistently stand for the right side of history. Make a statement, the NBA dares you.

On the court, they now have all the freedom without color restrictions on sneaker wear and apparel.The league’s laissez-faire attitude has always encouraged its athletes to express themselves.

Enjoy the games & remember to keep engaged - VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

Much Love,


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