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By his third season as an NBA professional, LeBron James had surpassed the expectations set by NBA scouts in 2003. James was a certified superstar and was one of the league’s elite players before he was legal drinking age. Part of his stardom was due to his charismatic persona, and his ideal playing style – unrelenting speed, emphatic dunks, overall swagger – was reminiscent of the “Be Like Mike” slogans of the early 90s. However, not everyone is a 6’9″ 250 lb. freak of nature, so the design team had a tough had a daunting task ahead of them; how do we create a shoe fit for both LeBron James and the average Joe?

If you notice the progression of Nike’s signature lines – Jordan, Penny, Barkley – each new model features a fresh design cue that serves as a “centerpiece”. For LeBron’s first shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Generation, it was the faux-Chrome heel stability counter. For the LeBron II, it was the Pebax-shelled Zoom Air. But the third seemed void of any breakthrough tech or feature which left LeBron fans feeling the LeBron III was just the LeBron II with a new suit. But as the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The LeBron II was a huge success in terms of comfort, so the LeBron team in Beaverton chose to build up on an already established winner.

The overall design of the LeBron III resembles that of a high-tech army boot; the straps on the upper, micro-perforations on the leather, and sleek, linear midsole was more “soldier” than any LeBron shoe to date. The interior framework of the LeBron III featured a “foot-bucket” which prevented the foot from slipping off the foot-bed. And again, the large-volume Zoom Air unit returns with a leaner Pebax shell.

If we’re talking colourways, the LeBron III had almost as many in-game colourways as the AZG and LeBron II combined. We’ve seen general Home and Away releases along with special editions made for his All-Star appearance, Birthday, and 2006 Olympic Team games. The increase in colourways and limited editions was enough evidence to prove that LeBron James was indeed the future of Nike Basketball.

General Information:

Name: Nike Zoom LeBron III

Broad Launch Date: November 12th, 2005

Retail Price: $125

Product Specs:

  • Large-volume Zoom-Air unit reinforced by Pebax shell suitable for heavier players
  • Un-stitched exterior straps on the upper giving the shoe freedom to shift and slide in sync with the foot
  • Carbon-fiber shank and Pebax “foot-bucket” support shell for maximum stability
  • Rubber outsole featuring deep, longitudinal grooves for improved traction

“China Edition”

Release Date: 11/12/2005

Color: White/Varsity Crimson-Chrome

Style: 312147-162


Release Date: 11/17/2005

Color: White/Black-Varsity Crimson

Style: 312147-101


Release Date: 12/16/2005

Color: Black/Black-Varsity Crimson

Style: 312147-004


Release Date: 12/16/2005

Color: White/White/Gold Dust

Style: 312147-114



Release Date: 12/27/2005

Color: Baroque Brown/Brown/Metallic Gold

Style: 312147-221


“All-Star Game”

Release Date: 02/18/2006

Color: White/Varsity Red-Chrome

Style: 312147-163


Release Date: 02/25/200

Color: White/Midnight Navy-Metallic Silver

Style: 312147-141


Release Date: 05/12/2006

Color: Black/Black-Gold Dust

Style: 312147-006




Release Date: 06/12/2006

Color: White/Midnight Navy-Metallic Gold

Style: 312147-136



Release Date: 06/12/2006

Color: Black/Black-Varsity Red

Style: 312147-137



Release Date: 06/12/2006

Color: White/White-Metallic Silver

Style: 312147-138



Release Date: 06/12/2006

Color: White/Gold-Green

Style: 312147-139



Release Date: 06/25/2006

Color: White/Varsity Red-Black

Style: 314010-161


Release Date: 06/25/2006

Color: White/White-Khaki

Style: 314010-111


Release Date: 09/01/2006

Color: Black/Black-Ice Blue

Style: 314010-001


Release Date: 09/01/2006

Color: White/University Blue-Baroque Brown

Style: 314010-143


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