The Nike Air Zoom Generation, aka the Nike LeBron James 1, was the first of one of the biggest selling shoes by any ball player, but at the time, Nike was going out on a limb with James, as the rookie was yet to earn his stripes.
The words that began the Nike LeBron Generation were: “We will design you the most comfortable basketball shoe you have ever worn”. And that’s exactly what lead designer Aaron Cooper did. He took the idea that LeBron was a modern athlete with freakish speed and abnormal strength and used that inspiration to create a shoe that was hardy enough to keep up with the king of basketball.
Someone at Nike who must have been sure of LeBron James was Eric Avar, the man who changed how people saw low-tops on the court. He and the creator of the Nike Air Max, Tinker Hatfield, were drafted in to help Cooper make the Nike Zoom. The result saw James trying the shoes on, jumping a few times and famously stating: “these are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn”.