The NBA Playoff race quickly became one of the more intriguing storylines in sports with over half of the League’s teams residing within only a handful of games from one another in the overall standings. As the postseason extracts greatness from the League’s best, the spring and summer months additionally pose the ideal opportunity for the ecosystem’s biggest names to introduce their latest technology to the landscape.
Over the past few months, the industry’s behemoths like Nike and Jordan have announced the additions of three new athletes to their respective signature families – Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum and Sabrina Ionescu. Tatum will surely be rocking a number of compelling colorways of his first Jumpman shoe as he and the Celtics look to return to the Finals while adidas Basketball will be supplying James Harden with a number of tastefully crafted PEs of the Harden Vol. 7.
The 2023 postseason is sure to feature the debuts of a number of silhouettes and successive color blockings. With the mass amount of heat expected throughout the coming months, we’ve gathered a collection of potential basketball sneakers to look out for over the coming weeks during the 2022-23 NBA Playoffs.
Air Jordan 38
Debuted via UCLA freshman and Jordan Brand NIL athlete Kiki Rice, the Air Jordan 38 hasn’t made an on-court appearance since the March Madness tournament. Meanwhile, the Air Jordan 37 Low has been pulling a majority of the weight for the brand in the first round via their roster of non-signature, yet endorsed athletes. With first look imagery back in March showcasing a breathable mid-foot window and what could be an all-new cushioning system, the 38th iteration of the Jumpman banner’s game shoe could be preparing yet another grand entrance throughout the Playoffs alongside the likes of Obi Toppin, Bam Adebayo and Rui Hachimura.
Nike KD 16
Surrounded by the scorching hot desert biome that Phoenix, Arizona resides in, Kevin Durant’s last minute trade from the Nets to the Suns quickly asserted the team as favorites out of the Western Conference. Wasting no time in his acclimation, Durant’s ninth game alongside Devin Booker and Chris Paul saw the two-time Champion simultaneously beat sneaker fiends to a first-look at his 16th signature silhouette with The Swoosh, sharing imagery of the three inaugural colorways of the Nike KD 16 via his Instagram.
Durant has been notoriously superstitious when it comes to breaking in an all-new silhouette or even colorway from his signature lineup over the years, routinely flipping out of a pair from the first half if his shooting splits or feel for the game isn’t pristine. Suiting up in a Triple-Black pair of the KD 16 for Game 1 of their opening round matchup against the Clippers, a 27-point near-triple-double has all but confirmed the continued emergence of Durant’s latest on-court technology throughout the 2023 postseason.
adidas D.O.N. Issue #5
Previewed for the first-time at All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City, the adidas D.O.N. Issue #5 has yet to receive an on-court appearance and release date. Although, history has proven that we may be receiving a debut sooner rather than later. After the premier of the Issue #3 in the first round of the 2020-21 NBA Playoffs and the official release of his fourth signature with adidas in March of 2022, the stars have all aligned for the expected entrance of Donovan Mitchell’s latest Lightstrike-infused silhouette during the Cavaliers series against the New York Knicks.
Nike Zoom Freak 5
Giannis Antetokoumpo’s signature series with Nike has exclusively favored reverse Checks, that is until first looks at the Zoom Freak 5 surfaced in late March revealing an oversized Swoosh and a disparate design departure from counterparts of years past. Ditching the visible Zoom Air bag that routinely dressed each of his signature models, the 2021 champion’s latest ensemble bears the most streamlined composition to date. The former two-time MVP’s fifth signature silhouette could debut sometime during the Playoffs, similar to the first appearance of the Zoom Freak 1 in the 2019 postseason.
Nike Ja 1
While Ja Morant’s first signature silhouette with Nike won’t hit shelves until April 19th – following a delay from its initial April 1st release date – the two-time All-Star and The Swoosh have already teased a number of upcoming tinctures set to grace the Nike Ja 1. Packing Air Zoom and a mid-foot lockdown system into a relatively simplistic design, the Beaverton brand’s first Gen Z signature athlete headlines their Jump portfolio of silhouettes with a $110 starting price point. As one of the most explosive and exciting players of his generation, Morant’s first signature could be cemented into sneaker history throughout the playoffs and with the models simultaneous release.
Jordan Tatum 1
Making its debut during his legendary 55-point All-Star performance in February, Jayson Tatum’s inaugural silhouette with Jordan Brand officially arrived in the first week of April. Boasting the lightest tooling in Jumpman’s on-court catalog, the Jordan Tatum 1 coincidentally premiers in tandem with Tatum’s assertion as a superstar force and future Hall of Famer. With the Celtics’ 2022 Finals loss to the Warriors fresh on the palette, Tatum and the second-best team in the East will be favorites to land in the East’s conference championship, providing additional opportunities to see the uncaged Zoom Air silhouette in tasteful PEs and colorways.
Nike Sabrina 1
Aside from serving as an equity investor in the WNBA, Nike doubled-down on their commitment toward the empowerment of women in sports when they announced in mid-March that New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu had become The Swooshes’ latest signature athlete. Ionescu joins a short yet storied lineage of female hoopers who boast their own signature shoe stamped with the signature Check, standing alongside the likes of Diana Taurasi, Dawn Staley, Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie and Chamique Holdsclaw.
Infused with a top-loaded Zoom Air unit and full-length React cushioning, the Nike Sabrina 1 won’t see a general release until the WNBA season starts this coming summer. However, as the first Nike athlete to release a unisex signature collection, the silhouette could make a multitude of appearances throughout the postseason alongside the brand’s roster of endorsed athletes like Darius Garland and Jordan Poole who favor the low-cut, multi-dimensional feel of similar silhouettes like the Zoom GT Cut 2.
Nike Cosmic Unity 3
Introduced in 2021, the Cosmic Unity has become a full-fledged returner amongst Nike’s recently broadened signature lineup. Now on its third construction, the sustainably-minded silhouette engages in a stark departure from its contemporaries with a clad Flyknit upper and padded piping surrounding the ankle. A favorite amongst the big-man community within the League, the Nike Cosmic Unity 3 is tentatively scheduled to release on April 20th for $170 in a “Phantom” colorway ahead of Earth Day.
adidas Harden Vol. 7
Throughout a majority of the 2022-23 season James Harden has been sporting his seventh signature with adidas, boasting about the heavily-cushioned solution in its myriad of titular schemes on social media. In late February, the 3-Stripes finally announced the adidas Harden Vol. 7 and its initial March 2nd release date. Matching the energy of the suave yet braggadocios fashion style of the 10-time All-Star to his on-court lineup, a number of titular ensembles are sure to accompany Harden and the Sixers on their push toward an NBA Championship. Combining Jet Boost cushioning with pillowy quarters, you can grab the Harden Vol. 7 now in its debut colorways.