ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Kobe Bryant has been through eight signature shoes as a Nike athlete, but at a media event at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the ninth and maybe most dramatic kick yet was unveiled. The KOBE 9, out February 8, 2014, is a mixture of design, fashion and function, and Bryant clearly relished showing it off alongside Nike CEO Mark Parker and Nike Creative Director and VP of Innovation Eric Avar.
After several years of lowtops, the Kobe 9 is huge, reaching high above the ankle — Kobe said the idea came to him while watching Manny Pacquiao train and noticing his boxing shoes. Together with Avar, the idea was honed into the KOBE 9. (Of the design process and going back and forth with Avar, Kobe said he particularly enjoyed it because “I think we’re all geeks at heart.”)
The shoe is largely constructed from Nike Flyknit, the first time the technology has been used in a basketball shoe. According to Nike, Flyknit “defies conventional shoe manufacturing processes by creating a one-piece engineered upper made from single strands of yarns.”
While there are various design hints throughout the shoe to what Kobe referred to as his “muses,” the most obvious key to the shoe is the lines of red embroidered down the back of the shoe, a nod to the stitches Kobe received after his Achilles surgery.
“I draw inspiration from where I am as a player, as a person, and where my career is at this moment,” Kobe said. “I’m trying to do something that the majority of people think is impossible to do. I let my emotions out when I step on the basketball floor, it’s always been my escape, and these shoes will touch a nerve on the court in the same way I do.”
According to some early reviews on my Twitter feed, at least one other NBA player likes the look of the shoe…
For more looks at the shoe, check the gallery below…