Remembering Kobe Bryant's Iconic Sneaker Moments

The basketball world is mourning. 

After the news of NBA legend, Kobe Bryant’s death broke out last Monday morning, candlelight vigils of all shapes and sizes have been organized around the globe. In memory of Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven others who also passed away from the helicopter crash, professional athletes have been spotted wearing Bryant’s merchandise to honour the late NBA player’s impact on the world. 


Athletes such as Los Angeles Clippers' Montrezl Harrel, Los Angeles Lakers' Lebron James, Washington Wizards' Isaiah Thomas and tennis player Coco Gauff, amongst many others, all dedicated their sneakers to Bryant by inking their shoes with messages. Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers jersey numbers, 8 and 24 and messages like “RIP Kobe” and “RIP Gianna” were also written as a tribute to the star. 


[Montrezl Harrell paying tribute to Kobe Bryant]
Credit: Sole Collector 


[Lebron James paying tribute to Kobe Bryant 
and Gianna Bryant]
Credit: Complex Sneakers


[Isaiah Thomas paying tribute to Kobe Bryant]
Credit: Complex Sneakers


[Coco Gauff paying tribute to Kobe & Gianna Bryant] 
Credit: Coco Gauff 

In memory of the great Kobe Bryant, we will be taking a look into how he changed the sneaker world. From his first-ever sneaker collaboration, to the good luck kicks that helped him break the 81 point record, here are the top four most iconic sneakers the star introduced over the years.


Adidas KB8

It’s impossible to talk about Bryant’s collection of sneakers without mentioning Bryant’s first signature pair of sneakers: Adidas KB8, later renamed as the Crazy 8s. Fresh out of high school, the then 17-year-old signed a multiyear endorsement deal with Adidas and introduced the black and white pair of kicks during his second year in the NBA. Bryant wore the Crazy 8s during multiple matches, even during the matches against his childhood hero, Michael Jordan in the 1997-98 season.


Featuring “Feet You Wear” technology that shapes the midsole and outsole according to your feet, these shoes also use adiPrene cushioning to absorb shock when running and landing.

Michael Jordan (Left) vs. Kobe Bryant (Right) in 1998 All-Star Game. Credit: Undefeated
[Michael Jordan (Left), Kobe Bryant (Right) during the 1998
All-Star Game, wearing the Crazy8's] 
Credit: Undefeated

Kobe Byrant (Left) vs. Michael Jordan (Right) 1997-1998 NBA Season Game. Credit: Undefeated.
[Kobe Bryant (Left) vs. Michael Jordan (Right) during the 1997-1998
NBA Season]
Credit: Undefeated

 

Nike Zoom Kobe 1

The first of Nike’s Kobe Bryant signature line, Nike Zoom Kobe 1 didn’t initially draw that much attention during its release on Christmas Day in 2005. However, it all changed when Bryant scored 81 points in a single game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006, quickly turning these kicks into one of the most sought out shoes of all time.


[Kobe Byrant of the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Jalen Rose and Chris Bosh
of the Toronto Raptors on January 22nd 2006, scoring 81 points in total.
He wears the Nike Zoom Kobe 1]
Credit: The Globe and Mail 

 

Nike Hyperdunks

Days after Nike unveiled the Hyperdunks in 2008, Bryant made the shoes go viral by posting a video of him jumping over a speeding Aston Martin car while wearing the kicks. In the video, Bryant puts on the sneakers on-screen, laced up the kicks and soothed teammate Ronny Turiaf’s worries by asking him, “You trust your boy?” 


While it’s hard to be supportive of your friend when they’re about to attempt a crazy stunt, the legend jumped over the silver car and landed a split second later with a proud grin. (Well, he didn’t actually jump over the car, but the video did go Viral!). 

Kobe Bryant wears the Hyperdrunks.  Credit: https://www.slamonline.com/kicks/the-nike-hyperdunks-legacy/
[Kobe Bryant lacing up the Nike Hyperdunks.] 
Credit: Sneaker News

 
Nike Kobe 11

Ending his basketball career on a high, Bryant wore the Nike Kobe 11 in black and gold colourway during his last game in the NBA in 2016, defeating the Utah Jazz 101-96. The 20-veteran dropped 60 points during that game and left fans with a farewell speech and iconic phrase— “Mamba Out”. 

Bryant achieved numerous awards and praise from the court to film, winning a total of five NBA championships, leading as a two-time NBA Finals MVP winner and even winning an Oscar for his six-minute film ‘Dear Basketball’ after retiring from the sport. His impact on-and off-court transcends through nations and he will be undoubtedly missed. 

Kobe Bryant wears the Kobe 11 during his last game in the NBA in 2016 against the Utah Jazz
[Kobe Bryant at his final NBA Game in 2016 against the Utah Jazz. He wears the Nike Kobe 11. Credit: Footwear News

“In the words of Kobe Bryant, ‘Mamba out,’ said Lebron James during the Lakers’ tribute to Bryant on Saturday, “But in the words of us, ‘Not forgotten.’ Live on, brother”.

Article by Doris Lam for Sneaker Surge  

Opening Picture Credit: 
Lakers