In the words of Mars Blackmon circa 1990, “It’s gotta be the shoes!”
That must be the reason Michael Jordan was able to torment defenders, right? During the 1991 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, Dee Brown stopped and took the time to pump up his Reebok Pumps before successfully reversing a pass to himself. Moments like these were monumental for sneaker culture. Sports fans — both athletes and non-athletes — wanted to be like NBA superstars. Buying jerseys wasn’t enough. People wanted the shoe that Jordan was wearing when he knocked down the game-winner over Craig Ehlo.
Here’s a look at some current NBA superstars’ “career kicks” — shoes these players wore during signature moments of their careers. Don’t forget to let us know your favorite kicks in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #NBAStyle…
• LeBron James — Career high 56 points vs. TOR on 3/20/2005: Nike Zoom LeBron II, released November 2004, a fan favorite!
• LeBron James — First Championship ring vs. OKC on 6/22/12: LeBron 9 PS Elite, released in 2012.
• Kobe Bryant — Career high 81 points vs. TOR on 1/22/2006: Nike Air Zoom Kobe I, released in 2006, this forged the Kobe/Nike relationship.
• Kobe Bryant — NBA record 12 three-pointers made vs. SEA on 1/07/2003: Reebok Question Mid, released in 1996, the iconic moment of Kobe playing in Allen Iverson’s signature shoe.
• Carmelo Anthony — Career high 50 points vs. MIA on 4/2/2013: Jordan Melo M8 Advance, released December 2009, Melo stays loyal to his Jordan family.
• Carmelo Anthony — Career high 22 rebounds vs. PHO on 11/15/2010: Jordan Melo M7, released December 2010.
• Kevin Durant — Career high 52 points vs. DAL on 1/18/13 — KD V: Released November 2012, this shoe surprised sneaker heads because KD decided to stray from the low-cuts (KD IV) we fell in love with.
• Dwyane Wade — Career high 55 points vs. NYK on 4/12/2009: Converse Wade 1, released 2009. Converse was the first of three sneakers deals for Wade.
• Dwyane Wade — Career high 46 points in playoffs vs. BOS on 4/25/2010: Air Jordan 2010 PE, released 2010.
• Derrick Rose — 42 points vs. MIA on 2/17/2011: adidas AdiZero Rose, released 2010.
• Derrick Rose — 17 assists vs. MIL on 3/26/2011: adidas AdiZero Rose, released 2010.