With one week of the NBA pre-season in the books, we can tell already that this season of NBA Feet Recaps will have more than ever in store for us. After all, Nate Robinson wasn’t the highlight of the Nuggets’ first exhibition game with his ‘Space Jam’ customs, but it was his teammate Quincy Miller that brought out the Air Jordan 5 Tokyo 23. That’s pretty much a solid appetizer for what’s to come in what’s shaping up to be the most action-packed NBA season of sneakers, and we can confidently say that nobody in the NBA is safe from guarding someone with unexpected heat.
While players moved teams, effectively changing their in-game sneaker selections, other key names shifted brands, like Steph Curry and his newfound Under Armour affiliation that should only help further the brand’s basketball imprint. Of course, there’s plenty more to expect from the typical Jordan Retros and Nike Basketball signatures, and with so much happening this off-season and only three weeks to go before opening tip-off – what can we expect from this season? Luckily we’re here to help as we give you 10 things to look out for on the feet of the world’s best ballers during this brand new season.
The Denver Nuggets
Are we looking at the new big three? In on-court dominance probably not, but in the terms of what reflect off the varnished hardwood, the 2013-2014 Denver Nuggets (not to say that they aren’t loaded with role-player talent) could be the most sneaker savvy team ever assembled. Nate Robinson already has a history of being a Jordan fiend, but with his days in Chicago gone he’ll have to bring us back to early Carmelo-like nostalgia with a plethora of UNC schemes and possibly an Air Jordan 11 ‘Gamma Blue’ appearance. Ty Lawson hasn’t been shy about rocking LeBrons (keeping him a consistent name in our NBA Feet recaps), and youngster Quincy Miller proved that he has the chops to be the sleeper sneaker star of the three with his Tokyo 23s.
A “Red October” Sighting
Paging: Nate Robinson. Lil’ Nate wowed us with his Yeezy 2 sighting last season, so if there’s one player to rock the all-red Yeezy 2 or even the “Legends of the Summer” Air Jordans, it’s that guy. The only thing holding him back is that he’s no longer in a Bulls uniform, and all-red isn’t entirely a good look with powder blue and gold, but mis-matching hasn’t stopped him before. Combine NBA money and an insatiable hunger for sneakers and you get a pair of Red Octobers one way or another. Will it happen?
A “Comeback” Year for adidas Basketball
adidas Basketball’s 2012-2013 campaign was a tumultuous one, with their star athlete Derrick Rose sidelined for the entire year and their No. 2 guy Dwight Howard learning about the big-market-blues the hard way. Some good fortunes close to the end of the season brought some good vibes to the three-stripes brand, with the unveiling of the adidas CrazyQuick on the feet of the rejuvenated John Wall and the eventual star Damian Lillard taking home the ROY honors ending the season on positive notes. That’ll carry over to the new campaign without question, giving adidas Basketball plenty to be excited about for their athletes and their products.
Derrick Rose is back, with an impressive D Rose 4 signature ready to be seen on a nightly basis on sports highlight reels. Dwight Howard should be back to his dominant self in a stacked Houston roster. Lillard and Wall will establish themselves as All-Star Game probables for years to come – all while wearing the adidas CrazyQuick in several colorways that we’ve yet to see. Will all of these developments lead to better sales and perhaps place a chink in the Nike armor?
Crazy Colorways and from Brands Not Named Nike
The NBA’s most popular footwear brand over the last decade has been Nike, which has been setting trends both on and off the court during that time. Nike has pioneered the movement of super-bright colorways on sneakers, which only means that the other brands in the scene, which have been more conservative with colorizing, will follow suit. adidas, perhaps the most conservative of the brands, will loosen up the tie a bit and present Rose, Howard, Lillard, and Wall with some spicy PEs, while Under Armour, which has been much more in tune with the trends, will come forward with their own neons and such. The overseas brands like Li-Ning, ANTA, and Peak are bound to join the fray as well, making for perhaps the most colorfully diverse season in NBA Feet.
A league-wide NIKEiD movement
Just like the average consumer, NBA players have gone to NIKEiD consistently to create their own unique designs of Nike’s signature shoes. Last season, the KD V was perhaps the most popular of the bunch, and with an advanced release of the KD 6 iD allowing players to have their colorways ready for the start of the season, we can certainly expect Durant’s signature shoe present on nearly every NBA roster. The KD 6 won’t be alone, because the Kobe 8, which still has some life left before the 9 unveils itself in late 2013/early 2014, and the LeBron 11 are all poised to have league-wide presence early on in the season.
Reebok Classics Going Hard on Retro
2012 was all about the Question, but 2013 has a much more diverse list of old-school Reeboks that NBA players have to choose from. The Kamikaze II was a popular pick in the latter third of last season, but with so many more colorways, new models like the Shaqnosis, Attaq, Answer DMX, and Reebok providing their athletes (Jason Terry, Isaiah Thomas) with their re-issued products, Reebok’s presence in the NBA footwear scene might be all Retro. Even their newer models – specifically the Q96 and the Pump Revenge – have their DNA cemented in Retro, and a lot of 2013 releases were themed after the teams that the players once played for.
Much more Growth in the NBA Sneakerhead Movement
It’s obvious that the NBA has gotten more sneaker-savvy, and that’s much in part due to the younger generation of pro-ballers, who developed their love for sneakers during the blog/forum age of sneaker fandom. A lot of these unproven rookies and young players don’t have sneaker contracts to worry about, and Gilbert Arenas showed us a few years ago what a sneakerhead in the NBA without a contract can do. As we’ve seen thus far in the pre-season, expect a lot of younger, unknown names to pull some heat out of nowhere (Quincy Miller in the Tokyo 23 is a strong indication of this movement), giving sneakerheads even more reason to tune into NBA action.
More from the Way of Wade
Has any NBA player been more hands-on with marketing their own signature shoes than Dwyane Wade has? The answer is simply “no”. Wade’s been teaching us about his ways through Instagram and Twitter, and with a design team backing his shoes with impressive concepts, the Way of Wade might be much more prevalent in 2013. To be more specific, expect players not named Wade to rock the Li-Nings. We already saw Dwyane’s newest teammate in Michael Beasley (a guy with discerning sneaker taste) give the Way of Wade a test drive, but do you expect to see more of them on-feet around the league? What are your thoughts of Wade developing his own team of Way of Wade ballers under his wing?
Players Switching Sneakers at the Half
Last year LeBron rolled into Madison Square Garden in the midst of a thirteen game win streak that was surely Melo’s and the Knicks duty to end on their home court. Up 14 at the half, it looked like the Knicks had done just that, until the reigning NBA MVP came out of the locker room donning a new colorway (perhaps his LeBron X “Carmex ID”s were too bright) of his signature Nike LeBron 10. We’re certain switching shoes isn’t the secret to better performance, and LeBron certainly isn’t the first to switch shoes at the half, but with the spotlight on sneakers being brighter than ever, it might be a good way to get noticed when you’re not dropping LeBron numbers.
More Sneaker Custom Sightings
Did you know that sneaker customizers get a good chunk of business…from pro athletes? We know LeBron and Wade got hooked up by Mache Customs and the big players like JBF. Gourmet Kickz, and Sole Swap may have some NBA ballers on their client list, so don’t be too surprised if custom sightings become commonplace.
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