A long and successful partnership between Kobe Bryant and Nike came to an end yesterday. We take a look at their top 5 Kobe Nike shoes of all time.
Kobe Bryant was an Adidas guy for 6 years since debuting in the NBA. He wanted to build an opposing legacy to Michael Jordan with the 3 stripes, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Most of Kobe’s Adidas releases were not found to be suitable for the market, and it petered out. Bryant became a sneaker free agent in the 2002-03 season. He rocked shoes from both Nike and Jordan Brand while turning out for the Lakers in one of his best individual seasons.
Bryant finalized a deal with Nike in 2003, but the Denver sexual assault scandal knocked askew their signature shoe timeline. The first Kobe Nike shoes were released in 2006. We take a look at some of Bryant’s best sneakers through the course of his partnership with the sporstwear giants:
Top 5 Kobe Nike sneakers
#5 Kobe AD NXT 360
This shoe came out on Mamba Day – 13th April – 2018. It was received with a great deal of fanfare. The shoe sports a ribbed knitting characteristic of the Primeknit technology.
Possibly the best colorway of this shoe was in the Lakers’ colours of Purple and Gold – they ‘Yellow Strike’.
— KicksOnFire (@kicksonfire) April 24, 2018
This shoe hasn’t been worn all that much by NBA players – primarily because it’s a low-ankle sneaker. It still has one of the dopest exteriors and looks sported by any Nike Kobe release.
#4 Kobe 1 Protro
The Kobe 1 is the embodiment of basketball sneakers from the noughties. Its 2018 re-release with refurbished grip and technology was called the Kobe 1 Protro.
With a tough leather exterior, the Protros sport a rugged look and feel all-in-all. It has also made for some first-class basketball experiences, and is more conducive to outdoor courts than the average Nike shoe.
#3 Zoom Kobe 9 Elite
Kobe preferred playing with low-top or mid-top sneakers. But there came a time in his career when he had to use high-ankle options too. The Mamba was at the tail end of his career at the time, and needed to play with maximum protection.
The Zoom Kobe 9 Elite was released as a result in February 2014 – 10 months after his Achilles tear occurred. It had a great reception – it’s good enough a throwback that you’ll spot it every now and then on NBA courts.
#2 Zoom Kobe 6 ‘Grinch’
Designed by Eric Avar, a figure who’ll rear his head more than once on this list, the Nike Zoom Kobe 6 was originally released from 2010-2011. The Grinch version hit the shelves on Christmas Day 2010, featuring a beautiful Green Apple colourway of the grumpy Dr. Seuss character.
The shoe was so wildly successful that it has been re-released twice after Kobe’s death. We’ve seen quite a few players turn out in this colorway over the years.
#1 Nike Kobe 11 ‘Fade to Black’
There are many moments in Kobe’s career that were career-defining, but none more so than his final game. Bryant dropped 60 on the Utah Jazz and mic-dropped his way out of the NBA.
He wore the Nike Kobe 11 ‘Fade to Black’ shoes in this game. The low-profile design comes in a black-based color scheme with gold accents and a translucent outsole. It’s truly a platinum-level shoe both to play in and to look at.