10 Basketball Shoes That Will Give You Nostalgia
Ever since Michael Jordan revolutionized the game of basketball and its relationship with shoes, big-time players have partnered with shoe companies to bring to the game a taste of themselves that all fans can enjoy. Signature shoes (designed and represented by NBA players) have been a driving force in the distribution of basketball shoes over the last 30 years.
These shoes carry with them a piece of history, inseparable from the superstars that designed and endorsed them. They become a part of who the player is and create a unique link players and fans across the basketball world. They aid in etching unforgettable moments that occurred on the glorious hardwood. Much like old photos, timeless songs, or familiar smells, basketball shoes can be a strong source of sweet nostalgia. Let’s take a look at a few pairs that may cause some trips down memory lane, in no particular order.
Jordan Melo 1.5 (2005)
The powder blue and black Carmelo 1.5s were one of the first Jordan Brand shoes designed and endorsed by a player other than Michael Jordan himself. When you look at these shoes you can almost perfectly envision cornrows, a yellow headband, and a flurry of scoring; all those of Carmelo Anthony during his stint in Denver, where he brought these shoes to life. The “Carmelo” cursive-written inscription on the ankle represented the classy killer that Carmelo was inside.
Adidas T-Mac 2 (2002)
If anyone showed up to the gym in T-Mac 2's, you knew they could ball. The T-Mac 2’s, even cooler than the T-Mac 1’s, featured the closest thing to a steel toe that you can have in a basketball shoe. Tracy McGrady sported these as he ruthlessly threw alley-oops to himself off the backboard. He was wearing these when he posterized several human beings on the NBA floor. These shoes were some of the coolest that you could get during the early 2000s.
Fila ninety6 Grant Hill 2 (1996)
Really? A pair of Filas made the list? Yes, mainly for the reason that when you see a pair of Filas you probably only think of one basketball player, Grant Hill. In 1996 Fila signed Hill to a lucrative endorsement deal worth over $80 Million, which was unheard of at the time. These shoes made Grant Hill rich(er) as he blossomed into one of the brightest NBA stars in the late 90’s. It’s not the coolest-looking shoe in the world, but sometimes it’s not all about the looks.
Reebok Answer I (1997)
Perhaps the coolest basketball shoe ever, the original Reebok Answer 1 was the first in a long line of Iverson’s signature shoes. If you were ever guarding someone wearing these shoes, you knew you were about to get crossed up. These shoes were worn during one of the more iconic moments in basketball, when Allen Iverson sank a game-clinching shot against the Lakers and stepped over poor Tyrone Lue. Just by looking at these shoes you feel sorry for all of the dudes AI dropped to the floor with his killer crossovers. You can see his fully-inked arms, cornrows and thick headband. Why did it zip up in the front like a boot? Who knows, but it looks pretty awesome.
Nike Zoom Kobe V (2010)
The Kobe V was an early pioneer of the “low-top” style and is still today one of the lightest shoes you can buy. Kobe wore these as he clinched his 5th NBA championship, including being named finals MVP. They represent the Black Mamba in his prime, clutch shots and death glares included. The “Mamba Mentality” was not faulting in the Kobe V. If you were lucky enough to be able to afford these, you were probably A) no doubt a baller, or B) a rich spoiled kid that could barely even dribble. Regardless, the Kobe V was one of the greatest shoes ever.
Nike Air Jordans 1 (1985)
1985 changed the world of basketball shoes. MJ wore these as he dazzled during his rookie year, even after being fined by commissioner David Stern each time he wore them. Nike gladly picked up the tab of the fines, realizing their future return on their investment in the young MJ. The style and look of the Air Jordan 1 has never diminished. These timeless shoes were great in 1985, and they will be in 2050.
Reebok Kamikaze II- Shawn Kemp (1996)
Is there any cooler name for a shoe than Kamikaze? It was obvious the reason they were tabbed with that name, after the ferocious and explosive dunker Shawn Kemp himself. Highlight reels across the world wide web feature Kemp rocking rims in these tall and bulky Kamikazes. If your dad has a pair of these in his closet, you need to get them out and go throw down some windmills.
Nike KD 6 (2013)
The coolest thing about KD’s shoe series is they are a replica of what Kevin Durant would look like if he were shoe. The long, lanky frame of the shoe mimic that of Durant himself. Even though they look like a soccer cleat, KD exploded onto the NBA scene with these shoes and won the 2014 MVP. Much like the Kobe shoes, the KD featured a super low-top look and may or may not increase your ability to sink pull-up threes in the defender’s eye.
Air Jordan XI (1995)
A whole list could be comprised of Jordan shoes alone, but the Air Jordan XI shoe is simply nostalgic. MJ wore these as he came back into the game from his baseball episode in 1995, in which he won the regular season, All-Star, and Finals MVP all in the same year. The classic and simplistic look was extremely popular and was the best selling shoe among NBA fans for several years in the 90’s. If you wore these shoes, you were probably clutch.
Nike Zoom LeBron V (2007)
LeBron joins MJ and Kobe in a league of their own when it comes to shoe branding and development. The King of the Jungle stamp on the tongue of the shoe represented the player that LeBron became in the late 2000’s, leading an incredible Eastern Conference finals against the Pistons in 2007. Looking at these shoes you can see LeBron flying through the paint with no regard for human life. These shoes took NBA fans by storm and became one of the best-selling shoes of all time.