If you’re a basketball fan, then you know how important signature sneakers are to the sport. Some models became collectible items over time, and hardcore fans are willing to pay high amounts of money for some of them. Players with signature sneakers include:
- Michael Jordan
- LeBron James
- Kevin Garnett
Nike’s signature basketball sneakers are memorable because of their unique look and feel. Some designs are elegant and plain but others look like they’re from outer space.
To celebrate the fun culture of basketball kicks, here’s a list of the greatest Nike signature Basketball sneakers of all time.
1. Nike Shox VC 2 – Back in 2002, this synthetic and leather hybrid was Vince Carter’s second signature shoe as the frontman of Nike’s Shox Technology. The Shox system absorbs impact and adds more propulsion power, making it the perfect shoe for the high-flying player.
2. Nike Air Zoom Flight V – This retro sneaker first became popular when Jason Kidd wore them during his run with the Dallas Mavericks back in 1977. Known for its bright “bug-eye” in the midsole, this shoe is a traction superstar. In Japan, this model has a cult-like following thanks to Kidd and Yuta Tabula, who also wore the model for a while.
3. Nike Air Pippen I – Released in 1997, this was Scottie Pippen’s first signature sneaker with Nike. It features a wave design on the side panels and a Nike Air Zoom cushion. This shoe, which Pippen wore during the ‘97 Finals, recently made a comeback and it’s available in stores for $160.
4. Nike Air Flightposite II KG – Once known as Kevin Garnett’s signature model when he played with the Minnesota Timberwolves, this outer space-looking model is known for its sleek design, high level of comfort and efficiency on the court. Nike used an innovative approach for this model when they chose the seldom-used carbon fibre midsole and instep zipper.
5. Nike Zoom GP II – A lightweight basketball shoe, this was Gary Payton’s second signature shoe featuring shiny synthetic leather upper and Zoom Air cushioning. The shoe was originally released in 2000 and was designed specifically for Payton to wear at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
6. Nike Air Zoom Generation – This was the first LeBron James signature line with Nike, released in 2003. The design features a rubber outsole with a herringbone pattern for better traction, Zoom Air in the forefoot and a lightweight Phylon midsole with carbon fibre.
7. Nike Air Max CW – Chris Webber’s most popular 90s sneaker recently made a comeback. This classic 1995 shoe featured a white and blue colorway and a CW logo shaped like a basketball hoop on the heel. Newer versions of the shoe don’t feature the Webber signature because of the lack of contract between the player and Nike.
8. Nike Zoom Kobe VI – Back in 2010, Kobe Bryant teamed up with Nike designer Eric Avar to create a perfect performance shoe inspired by Kobe’s alter ego, the Black Mamba. The design featured synthetic scales and “Venomenon” written on the front outsole. Because of the low-cut style, these shoes are perfect for players who want stability and a better court feel.
9. Nike Air Pippen II – Scottie Pippen, one of the greatest NBA wingmen of all time, teamed up with Nike to make a sleek and smooth sneaker. The result was a white, black and red colorway that he wore during the Chicago Bulls’ 1998 season. Inspired by the 1951 Mercury, this shoe was released during a time when the most successful sneakers were those with the most designs.
10. Nike Air Max CB34 – Charles Barkley debuted this sneaker back in 1996. Featuring one of the most recognizable 90s looks out there, these kicks have a jagged design, lockdown elastic straps and “CB34” on the tongue tag, side panel and outsole. Equipped with Air-Sole, this shoe was the perfect fit for Sir Charles’ landings.
11. Nike LeBron 8 – These sneakers marked the moment LeBron left the Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat in 2010. These kicks were built on a Max Air 360 unit to help with cushioning and impact protection. Designed by Jason Petrie, the 8th generation of the player’s signature kicks were built to be more lightweight.
12. Nike Zoom GP – The Zoom GP was the first of four signature sneakers to carry Gary Payton’s initials in 1997. Featuring a lock-down system inspired by ski boots, an asymmetrical lace cover, and a sleek texture ideal for guard play, these sneakers were an instant hit. With a flexible outsole, wide toe-box and breathable mesh, the design provided a more slim to keep the player more grounded to the floor.
13. Nike Zoom KD IV – The fourth Kevin Durant signature shoe released in 2011 features an Adaptive Fit system, Hyperfuse construction, an Air Zoom unit and a wide variety of colors like ‘Year of the Dragon’, ‘Galaxy’ and ‘Nerf’. Designer Leo Chang worked with Durant to create a pair of sneakers with a seamless one-piece upper for better stability on the court.
14. Nike Air Garnett III – Released in 1999 during Kevin Garnett’s All-Star year, this Timberwolves-inspired sneaker featured Tuned Air cushioning, tumbled leather and a recognizable mesh infusion. The shoe became a retro in 2009 when it came back as the Nike Air 3 since Garnett was no longer signed to Nike by then.
15. Nike Air Max Penny I – Featuring the black, white and blue Orlando Magic colorway, this was Penny Hardaway’s first collaboration with Nike. The memorable design comes with a synthetic upper, pops of color on the Swoosh and Vis-Air cushioning in the heels.
16. Nike Air Foamposite One – Penny Hardaway debuted this unique design in 1997, redefining the hoops shoe. It featured a form-fitting upper composition and a synthetic foam material that ensured durability and a glove-like fit. Back when it came out, people doubted the radical look because it rejected the typical leather and rubber combinations in exchange for a plastic-based material.