LeBron James joined one of the most exclusive classes in NBA history when he was awarded the 2012-2013 Kia NBA MVP trophy this past Sunday. His fourth award rightfully places his name alongside other legends like Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain, and what’s even more impressive is that LeBron has the potential to win more MVP trophies down the road and perhaps end his career with the most in NBA history (he would need seven to do so – Kareem’s got six). But in 2013, what separates LeBron from the rest is that his signature shoe line has grown rapidly since he won his first trophy, with Nike fashioning a special edition version of each signature shoe model (MJ had a signature line, but never a solo “MVP” colorway).
Like an MVP trophy, the Nike LeBron “MVP” editions were hardly easy pick-ups. Some were insanely limited, released in a pack, or unreleased altogether! For ever pre-game ceremony, LeBron James wore the specific shoe during the game – all of which came during a Home game in a Playoff round. With the Nike LeBron X “MVP” headed for yet another limited release in the coming months (current rumors put them in July), can we firmly establish that this year’s MVP sneaker is the best? Will there be more to come in the future? Let’s take a look back at LeBron James’ MVP sneakers below and point out your personal favorite of the bunch.
Nike Zoom LeBron VI – 2009
Off the high of winning a Gold Medal at the Beijing Olympics in the Summer of 2008, LeBron James entered the 2008-2009 NBA campaign with extra focus. He ended up winning his first-ever NBA MVP award, finishing with 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.2 assists while playing a then career-low 37.7 minutes a game.
In 2009, LeBron James wore the Nike Zoom LeBron VI. The “MVP” version is perhaps the most subdued of all the MVP LeBrons, with a basic White/Black colorway being adored with golden “MVP” detailing and the WITNESS tagline being printed on the toe-box. The shoes released on May 30th for $150 at select Nike Basketball retailers.
Nike Air Max LeBron VII – 2010
LeBron James followed up his 2009 MVP campaign with a second straight award, with a special ceremony before Game 2 of the Cavs/Celtics series on May 3rd, 2010 commemorating the achievement. But despite leading the Cavs to a league-best 61 wins, LeBron James could not succeed against the Boston Celtics and lost in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
LeBron James wore the Nike Air Max LeBron VII “MVP” during Game 2. The shoes feature a varsity-style package of white leather, grey fleece material on the no-Flywire upper, burgundy red accents, and a golden chenille Swoosh. MVP detailing on the heel and tongue would accentuate this special edition sneaker, making it one of the most sought after LeBrons of the year.
Despite no confirmed release date set for the shoes (Nike initially intended for a release), LeBron fans were only focused on his free-agency decision, which resulted in an hour-long ESPN special revealing LeBron’s intention to leave Cleveland to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Needless to say, spirits were low, Cleveland fans were very unhappy, and LeBron fans were left with a sour taste in their mouths, which was apparently enough reason for Nike to shelf the shoe for good.
Nike Zoom LeBron VII P.S. – 2010
The Nike LeBron VII was the first chapter in the LeBron signature line that introduced the “second” shoe within the volume. Dubbed the P.S. for “postseason”, Nike Basketball created a lighter version using the Air Max LeBron VII anatomy, but building it up with lighter materials and a full-length Zoom Air unit. Like the Air Max LeBron VII “MVP”, the Nike Zoom LeBron VII P.S. “MVP” never released to the public, but somehow made its way out into the open.
In addition to the P.S., there was a Nike Air Max LeBron VII Low “MVP” that was never released. It was a basic tonal-white colorway with special logos lasered onto the upper.
Nike LeBron 9 – 2012
LeBron James was awarded his third MVP trophy in 2012 – his first as a member of the Miami Heat. The ceremony was held on May 13, 2012 before the Heat’s Playoff game against the Indiana Pacers. LeBron James wore the Nike LeBron 9 “MVP” at the start of the game, but switched out to the Nike LeBron 9 Elite for the rest of the series.
The Nike LeBron 9 “MVP” was released as part of a two-pair Pack called the Nike LeBron 9 Championship/MVP Pack. It was the first-ever two-pair Pack in LeBron history and commemorated LeBron James’ MVP win and first NBA Championship. The shoes were released only in Miami and are very limited in number.
Nike LeBron X – 2013
LeBron James was crowned king of the league for the fourth time on Sunday, joining the ranks of Jordan, Wilt, Kareem, and Bill as the only fourth-time MVP winners in NBA history. With LeBron James still yet to hit 30 years of age, there’s a fair shot at reaching seven MVP trophies by career’s end, which would place him on top of list of most MVP wins in NBA history. On May 6, 2013, LeBron James wore the MVP shoe for part of the game.
Nike created this insanely colorful special version of the Nike LeBron X to commemorate the achievement. Using several elements of earlier Nike LeBron X releases like the BHM, Area 72, Prism, Cutting Jade, and more, this MVP edition was quickly dubbed the “What The LeBron” for its chaotic mix of releases past. A releases is currently rumored for July in Asia and the U.S., with roughly 600 pairs releasing to the public.