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Nike Kobe for the Black Mamba

Kobe’s twenty-year career with the Lakers lasted from 1996 through to 2016 and, although his game on the court was phenomenal, he should also be remembered for all that he’s done for basketball shoes and streetwear throughout his career. Sometimes athletes merely give their name to their line of clothing, but since the Nike Kobe II, Bryant has been an active part of designing his namesake.

It’s easy to say that bringing out a line of shoes is enough to change how people see footwear in basketball, but Bryant literally did revolutionise things. At a time when players were almost forced to wear high-tops, Bryant appeared in the Nike Kobe IV which claimed to have the same support as a high-top with the flexibility of a low.

But it doesn’t end there. The style of Kobe’s trainers has always matched his own personal style and playing condition, which in turn sparked their own fashions. The Nike Kobe VI, for instance, was adorned with a kind of reptilian snakeskin to match his nickname, “Black Mamba”, whereas the Nike Kobe XI was built with a kind of ankle brace that was designed to help with Kobe’s Achilles injury. Where most ball players follow fashions with their own lines, Kobe creates them.
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Nike Kobe

Kobe Bryant had an incredible twenty-year career in the NBA, and throughout that time he changed the face of basketball shoes on multiple occasions. Here are a few facts you may not have known about Bryant’s shoe game:

Before making shoes with Nike, Kobe had a six-year contract with Adidas that was worth around 48 million US dollars.

The Nike Kobe II, created by Adidas, was so out there that Kobe opted out of wearing it for the finals in the year it was released. Later, the Nike Kobe II went on to be known as the ‘Space Boot’.

In 2008, Kobe famously promoted his Nike Hyperdunks by jumping over a speeding Aston Martin.

Nike Kobe at KICKZ