With each new signature shoe, designers attempt to convey certain storytelling elements with colors, special details and especially branding. In the case of the Nike LeBron line, an even greater amount of subtext can be read into the logos and personal touches to bring LeBron’s triumphant saga to life. The LeBron VII was the first and only Petrie designed shoe to be worn by LeBron as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the last to feature his classic L23 logo. Following that season, the eventual “decision” left Nike unsure about where LeBron would be playing and what number he’d be wearing next season, so the LeBron 8 was created with no real LeBron logo, instead using the King James lion graphic on the tongue and his signature on the heel to provide the requisite personal nods.
With the unveiling of the LeBron 9, a new logo was finally introduced – a simple, but effective stretched-out “LJ” with a crown above it. The new Nike LeBron logo appeared on the heel of the 9, as well as on the laces, but it wasn’t until the celebratory LeBron X that it was placed front and center on the tongue label, accentuated by a diamond textured finish and accompanied by a large gemstone-carved lion head lace lock sitting right below it. The LJ logo is back again for the LeBron XI, this time protruding from the tongue in an eye-catching engraved metallic makeup complemented by an embroidered “XI” logo featured above it on the tongue loop.