Every young basketball player’s dream is to play in the NBA and have their own signature shoe.
Most of us don’t get there, so we settle for wearing the shoes of our favorite players. Famous ballers like Jordan, Kobe, LeBron and Curry, and the shoe companies, have been taking our money for years.
In life, your outfit can’t be on point if your shoes aren’t fresh — they can make or break it. The same is true in the world of basketball. The type of shoes you wear on the court says a lot about you and your game. You can’t go to the local recreation center rocking a pair of weak kicks.
“I like dope colors that stand out,” said senior guard Israel Hakim. “I try to stay away from basic colors and designs.”
However, it’s not all about the look. The right basketball shoes are comfortable on your feet. You don’t want them if they’re too wide or narrow, and a heavy pair may slow you down or hamper your high jump.
SF State men’s and women’s basketball teams wear Nike Hyperdunk 2016 high-tops in two shades of purple and white. The hyper grape, deep purple and white are designed to match the color of the Gators’ uniforms, but the color scheme doesn’t make up for comfort.
“The shoes we wear aren’t comfortable,” junior guard Josh Douglas said. “It doesn’t affect the play on the court, but they’re not that comfortable.”
The hottest basketball shoes on the market offer different kinds of advantages and features. Some shoes, like the Nike Kyrie 2, are designed for players with quick feet. The Curry 2.5, released in 2016, is great for ankle support and stability. For those players that prefer low-cut shoes, the Nike LeBron 13 Low is a light shoe with a quirky, graffiti-like design.
In 1985, Nike dropped the Jordan I, forever changing the way we associate basketball and sneakers. Before this iconic shoe release, many hoopers balled in Converse and Nike Air Force 1s. This release ignited a sneaker revolution and helped pave the way for top athletes to make big money off of their signature shoes.
As one might imagine, it isn’t cheap to sport the same shoes as our favorite players. LeBron and Kyrie editions can cost upward of $150.
If you grew up poor like I did, your parents weren’t buying you $150 shoes. You had to run to the local Payless to get Shaq’s or Starbury’s. Luckily, there are cheaper options on the market today, like Klay Thompson’s ANTA KT2.
Some NBA players use their shoes for more than style and comfort. Their unique platform allows them to display messages or statements for the world to see. Some players write on their shoes to honor sick patients they’ve met or bring attention to something they think is important.
“I like when players dedicate a game by writing a name on their shoes,” junior guard Imani Smith said. “It brings awareness in a unique way.”
Sometimes the message takes a religious or political stand.
Steph Curry frequently writes “I can do all things” on his shoes, which represents a bible verse from Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
In 2012, after the death of Trayvon Martin, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade wrote “RIP Trayvon” and “We want justice” on their respective sneakers to honor the slain teen. Players like this may be profiting from shoes sales, but it’s a refreshing sight when they use those shoes to bring attention to something bigger.
So remember folks, next time you go out to ball, make sure you’ve got the right kicks on your feet — they can say a lot about who you are.