What Do You Think?: Nike LeBron Retro
Earlier today LeBron James went “Retro” for the first time in a while and brought out the Nike Zoom LeBron VI “Fairfax” for his return to Cleveland. The Ken Link-designed Nike Zoom LeBron VI was the last of the LeBrons before it moved onto the era of Jason Petrie – a move that made LeBrons much more popular by a noticeable degree and solidifed the Nike LeBron as the flagship name and model for Nike Basketball. With consumers chasing down LeBron releases at a faster rate than ever before and the recent unveiling of the Nike LeBron X Elite bringing in even more excitement to the LBJ label, we’d like to continue our “What Do You Think?” series by posing the thought of a Nike LeBron Retro. Is the timing perfect? Is it too early?
Nike unveiled the Nike LeBron X during the 2012 London Olympics, with the awe-inspiring USA colorway paving the way for other incredible packages like the “Crown Jewel” and “Pressure” releases. Here at Sneaker News, we noted the milestone 10th Anniversary of the Nike LeBron when we talked about the shoes during our Sneaker News Top 30 of 2012, pointing out that no other signature sneaker line in Nike history has ever reached ten models with the exception of the Air Jordan. With LeBron now joining Michael in this uncharted territory and rumors of the Nike Air Zoom Generation (LeBron James’ first shoe) coming back in 2013 as a 10th Anniversary special release, we would say the timing is right.
However, the earlier Nike LeBron models were hardly the standout hits like the LeBrons in the Petrie era, and without anything close to a “South Beach” to give it that necessary jolt, the Nike LeBron line from model 1-through-6 didn’t command the attention at retail. However, to draw a parallel to another legendary signature sneaker line the original run of the Air Jordan 1 through VI didn’t have sneaker consumers lining up around the block, and most of them hit the sales racks. It was only until the following Retro releases – particularly in the “sneakerhead” era – that Air Jordans became such hot commodities. So is it time for the Nike LeBron to enter the Retro sector and give the earlier models another go at retail during a time when LeBron is such a hot item? What if Nike decided to give these older models some contemporary colorways, like “South Beach”, “Dunkman”, or “Galaxy”? We’d like to hear your thoughts on a potential Nike LeBron Retro, and if it ever happens, we’ll be sure to let you know first. Let’s get the discussion going in the Comments.
Nike Air Zoom Generation – Nike first LeBron signature wasn’t officially called the LeBron 1, although it did feature his L23 logo. While these were one of Nike’s best performance shoes at the time, these hit sales racks and only three GR colorways were released with a few limited pairs on the side.
Nike Zoom LeBron II – The second LeBron signature finally utilized his name in the title and jumpstarted the “Chamber of Fear”. The removable strap and Pebax-encapsulated Zoom Air were the highlights of these shoes. If these limited versions like the Dunkman and the Oregon PEs were released, would that be enough to make the LeBron II Retro a success?
Nike Zoom LeBron III – The military-boot inspired design featured a hefty boost in price – one reason why these didn’t fly off the shelves as quickly as you’d think. The amazing “Birthday” brown and the limited releases of the “The LeBrons” gave these some spark – would it fly again today in a “Dunkman” colorway?
Nike Zoom LeBron IV – The first LeBron to feature Foamposite might be the best of the 1-VI era. We’ll say it – a Nike Zoom LeBron IV Retro “Galaxy” would be insane, but how about an actual release of the Fruity Pebbles?
Nike Zoom LeBron V – So the LeBron V wasn’t the most popular shoe, but it did arrive when House of Hoops embarked on exclusive and super-limited releases. Would crowds go crazy over a Nike Zoom LeBron V Retro? Maybe not now, but years down the line?
Nike Zoom LeBron VI – This is the shoe that got us thinking. LeBron James wore the Nike Zoom LeBron VI against his former team, and those who didn’t care for the VI definitely had their head turns. Would this clean design (eerily similar to the Nike Trainer Clean Sweep) be a better fit for today’s sneaker consumers?