Even 30 years later, we’re still in the world of Michael Jordan in today’s NBA. Any budding superstar will be compared to him, fairly or not. He still holds a slew of NBA record-breaking stat lines, and one wonders if any of them will ever be broken. Plus, his signature shoe paved the way for stars of his own era — and the next — to be immortalized in leather and rubber. Many of them are still in production; the Air Penny still sells in spades, and Reebok frequently downgrades its Shaq Attaq pumps. The current generation of superstars have iconic shoes that will surely outlive their playing careers. Let’s take a look at some of the best.
Nike x SpongeBob Kyrie Irving 5
The Kyrie line has long been a favorite of amateur players due to its light weight and excellent feel on the court. This is a shoe for inside work and ankle slamming your opponents rather than a massively cushioned unit for dunk landings. It was reported that when it released in 2018, Nike had more units manufactured and ready to go than any previous shoe. And if Kyrie is famous for his crossovers, then Nike made one even more spectacular with their Spongebob collab.
Released in 6 distinct finishes (tongue, heel, and sole, not just colorways), they sold out instantly and are now only found on the aftermarket for at least double their MSRPs of $110 (high low) and 130 $ (top top ).
If money was no object, the wise choice might be the versions celebrating the house of Spongebob; there are few taunts better than telling an opponent they just lost to someone with pineapples on their feet.
Jordan Why not .5
If we look around the modern NBA, Russell Westbrook’s game is immediately identifiable. Likewise, halfway between the court and the catwalk, his shoes are unlike anyone else’s. And, like his game, they will spark strong opinions. Its why not.
5 offers strong forefoot traction for explosiveness off the dribble and signature Brodie touches like the “Honor The Gift” heel strap noting Russ’ other fashion brand. The “Inner City” sand colorway has big “Luke Skywalker on Tatooine” vibes; suitable for a player who often wants to take on the entire galaxy on their own.
Adidas D Rose 773 III
If Goose Island chose to celebrate downtown Chicago’s 312 area code with its namesake beer, then Englewood-born Derrick Rose bet on 773; neighborhood code, Chicago workers. This shoe is known for its sturdy leather construction and excellent traction on concrete terrains.
It is – perhaps poignantly – very accommodating for ankle braces. Originally released in 2014, the 773 III has remained in production ever since and can often be found for less than $100, making it a great choice for a shoe you’re not too worried about getting rough and ready.
Nike LeBron 19
As basketball fans will argue over the different eras and legacies between MJ and LBJ for decades to come, Jordan is definitely winning the sneaker battle right now with 26. LeBron is hot on his heels, and with a similar deal. , will have shoes under his banner long after hanging up his jersey.
The LeBron 19’s recent “Chosen 1” release was designed to celebrate the King’s return to the Cleveland-based All-Star Game where he reminded us all that he was far from an exhausted force, no matter what. current struggles of the Lakers.
This colorway has a subtly understated streetwear vibe, with gold pops on a dark green upper and cuts a more classic silhouette than the pseudo boxing boot styles of some of the previous models. These wouldn’t look out of place in the conference room. Is Bron giving hints?
Jordan Zion 1
Launching in April 2021, Zion Williamson’s signature shoe still has just one model, albeit in different colorways. So far, the ‘Noah’ and ‘Marion’ schemes have featured a deep contrast between the rear and forefoot sections, to indicate the duality of the New Orleans star’s game.
Two new colors are planned – “Duke” – with the blue and black of his alma mater – and “Pelicans” in soft pink. Jordan is aiming to tie their releases to his return to court after an extended layoff with a broken foot. Pelicans fans are sincerely hoping it’s the imperious Duke Zion who will line up no matter which of the two he wears.
Currently, 19 NBA stars have their own signature shoe, and there will soon be 20. Jimmy Butler will finally have his own signature released by Li Ning this spring; he signed with the Chinese manufacturer in 2020 but has so far limited himself to wearing their other lines in exclusive colorways.
Jayson Tatum confirmed in December that his Jordan model would hit Boston shelves soon. And when highlight reels sell shoes to casual fans, Ja Morant’s lack of respect for gravity should surely make him number 22. Who will be player 23? Famous, that’s Jordan’s number. It’s big shoes to try to fill.