Sneaker collabs are a slam dunk for everyone involved—the NBA players, the sportswear companies, and the fans who have been dubbed “sneakerheads.”
Basketball sneakers are the perfect fusion of sport, culture, history, and style. The industry is booming, and it’s here to stay.
Many NBA players now have their own signature shoe deals and are building brands with advanced shoe technology and creative personal touches. And when a new shoe drops, it doesn’t really drop; it explodes onto the market.
Are you ready to join the sneaker-obsessed masses in the excitement that comes with a new signature shoe release?
The number of players with their own NBA player signature shoe lines is growing every year. Read on to learn about the most epic sneaker collabs and the shoes that are making waves on and off the court!
Kevin Durant + Nike
The Kevin Durant collaboration with Nike, called the Nike KD, has produced fourteen shoes, with the fifteenth set to be released this summer. This makes him one of only three NBA players to see his signature series reach that mark. His solid relationship with Nike began in his rookie year—2007—and has been going strong ever since.
Kevin Durant is currently a star player with the Brooklyn Nets, and the NBA legend is also bringing some legendary heat when it comes to his signature KD basketball shoes.
His KD 14, released in 2021, is a well-styled, versatile shoe for basketball players of all skill levels, with a springy cushion and great support and the reintroduction of a strap that was last seen on his KD 7. The shoe also incorporates the iconic Nike Swoosh, but this time, an elongated version inspired by a scythe, the preferred weapon of the Grim Reaper.
Keep an eye out for KD 15, set to be released sometime in 2022. The shoe will be released in a range of bold colorways and, like all of the other shoes in Kevin Durant’s Nike collaboration, is sure to be a hit.
Stephen Curry + Under Armour
Stephen Curry began his career wearing Nike but shifted to Under Armour in 2013. The Stephen Curry-Under Armour collaboration blasted off in 2015, the year Curry won his first NBA championship and his first MVP trophy. It was that same year that Under Armour dropped Stephen Curry’s namesake Curry 1 sneaker.
Since the release of his first shoe, Stephen Curry has dominated the NBA and also added 8 more Curry shoes to his signature line. The 2021-2022 seven colorways of the Curry 9 featured a Sesame Street theme, including odes to Big Bird, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, and Cookie Monster.
One of Stephen Curry’s missions is to encourage education, good values, and health for kids. So it’s no surprise that his Curry Brand of shoes is the perfect combination of cool pop culture and social awareness.
The Under Armour Curry Flow is set to be released at the end of 2022. If his past shoes are any indication, you can expect fun colorways, solid ankle protection, and enhanced shoe technology.
James Harden + Adidas
One of the best offensive players in the NBA, James Harden, brings a style of play to the game. Harden signed one of the sports industry’s biggest-ever shoe deals in 2015, inking a 13-year deal that could, with incentives, reach the 200 million dollar mark.
His signature shoe series came with a lot of buzz, especially with Harden’s unique, creative personal vibe. His first shoe—the Adidas Harden Vol. 1—was an excellent first signature shoe.
The Adidas Harden 1 was a superior court shoe featuring Boost™ cushioning and was a reflection of his expressive style that included an asymmetrical lacing system, black knit upper, a white leather toe shroud, and the “Harden Mark” logo.
His Vol. 6 shoes, released in February of 2022, are made in part with recycled content generated from production waste, an excellent choice for a more eco-conscious world. The latest release features candy-toned colorways and the signature Adidas Boost technology.
LeBron James + Nike
LeBron James is arguably the greatest basketball player of his generation and a global sports icon. King James is the perfect moniker to describe the player who has played in 10 NBA finals, been awarded four MVP awards, and has two Olympic gold medals. A big part of his legacy is and will always be his Nike signature shoe line.
Before LeBron James even played a single NBA game, Adidas, Nike, and Reebok were courting him to sign endorsement deals. Nike won out with LeBron signing an eye-popping 90 million dollar contract with them.
His first signature shoe hit the market in 2003—the Nike LeBron Air Zoom Generation. Released in various colorways with Nike’s famous cushioning technology, it was comfortable and classic and quickly became a favorite among sneaker collectors.
To date, there are a whopping 18 LeBron basketball shoes on the market. #19 is on its way, and King James will have done it again. The history between LeBron James and Nike truly runs deep—he now has a lifetime deal that pays him an estimated $32 million annually.
Giannis Antetokounmpo + Nike
Ever since Athens-born Giannis Antentokounmpo, aka The Greek Freak, began playing in the NBA, he has made his mark both on the court, in the community, and with his big, bold shoe collaboration with Nike. When he signed on the dotted line with Nike, he became the first European NBA player in history to receive his own signature shoe.
Before he had his own shoe line, his preferred shoe came from Kobe Bryant’s signature line, more specifically, the Kobe X elites, the original Kobe ADs, Kobe AD Mids, and then the Nike Kobe AD Exodus.
Giannis’ first signature shoe, the Nike Zoom Freak 1, which dropped in 2019, comes in colorways that are unique and vibrant. They also feature an extra-large Swoosh, setting them apart from other shoes on the court.
When you look up close, there are many personal touches—each shoe design is genuine, authentic, and comes rooted in the love of his family.
Following back-to-back MVP seasons, Antetokounmpo’s Zoom Freak signature line blasted off, and it is showing no signs of wavering. The Zoom Freak 2 was released in 2020, and the Zoom Freak 3 was one of the hottest shoes of 2021.
The Nike Zoom Freak 4 is set for release in July of 2022. It’s said to be a shoe that honors Giannis’ work ethic and passion with enhanced support, grip, and durability. And it’s going to look good too. The world is waiting, Giannis!
Chris Paul + Jordan Brand
Jordan Brand is a signature shoe and athletic wear brand owned and created by Michael Jordan himself, and Chris Paul may well be the most recognizable athlete to represent it.
Paul is now onto his twelfth signature shoe after releasing his first one, the Jordan CP3.1, in 2008. His NBA player shoes always feature appealing colorways, unique styling, the tell-tale Jumpman logo as well Podulon cushioning.
Could his versatile, innovative shoes have helped make Chris Paul the best point guard in the NBA? It’s a possibility.
Chris Paul has used his shoes as a message board to highlight dozens of HBCUs and collegiate graphics from various colleges. Since his playing days in Oklahoma City, he handwrites a phrase before every game—”Can’t give up now.” It’s a nod to the fifth track of the same name on Mary Mary’s 2000 gospel album.
The song and lyrics of the song are what inspired him to use the quote as a reminder to keep up the good fight. At 37 years old, he is still reminding himself that he still has what it takes to win.
And he’ll keep wearing his signature shoes as he does it.
Kyrie Irving + Nike
Kyrie Irving’s signature sneakers are one of the most-worn shoes by NBA players throughout the league. They are recognized for their high-level performance, cool colorways, as well as their support elements.
Irving, now a star point guard for the Brooklyn Nets, has developed a close relationship with the Nike design team. They diligently work together to create new basketball shoes that are both technologically advanced and beautifully designed.
His first shoe, the Kyrie 1, came on to the market in 2014, as he was entering his third year with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The bright deep red-colored shoe, with black, white, and dark gray details, was nicknamed “Dream,” a nod to his dream of playing in the NBA coming true.
The next Kyrie designs are creative mash-ups of colors, patterns, and designs that kept elevating the brand. Made with the top shoe technology available, they are solid, supportive shoes with enhanced traction and cushioning that increase playability.
Kyrie Irving’s seventh signature shoe, the Nike Kyrie 7 is set to debut in November with colorways inspired by art, film, music, and sports. It will include Kyrie’s personal branding as well as a tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant—the phrase “His Legacy Is Going To Live Forever”—on the outsole.
The Best Sneaker Collabs: a Recap
Great NBA sneaker collabs require a few important elements—a star basketball player, an advanced sportswear company providing the latest in shoe development and technology, and large amounts of creativity and inspiration from the world we live in. The resulting shoes are the product of epic, legendary collaborations that will live on in the lives of sports fans and basketball players, and aficionados forever.
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