He is ranked third and sixth in the NBA’s all-time post-season scoring and all-time regular season scoring list. He is also the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. Since, his second season playing professional ball he has started in every single NBA all-star game, winning the MVP award four times (02’,07’,09’,11’). I am talking about none other than the “Black Mamba” Kobe Bryant. Bryant is without a doubt a force to be reckoned with in the NBA. He is the leader of The Los Angeles Lakers and is the one that everyone looks to when the team needs a solid rock to keep them striving for the win.
I am sure all the facts that I can give about Black Mamba are well known around the US. That is why I am going to focus on things that most fans of Bryant might not know, his shoes. Since 2006 Kobe has released six versions of his shoes around the world.
The Nike Zoom Kobe 1 (above) was released in 2006. It was designed by Ken Link of Nike. The shoe was heavier than other models that year but still provided support and protection needed for Bryant’s high demands. In these sneaks, Kobe averaged 35.4 points per game, along with 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists.
Kobe’s second shoe (above) released a year later and was designed by Ken Link of Nike for the second time. This shoe consisted of a single layer construction to give the shoe more flexibility, while offering support through a series of panels. With his second shoe Bryant requested a low to the ground sneaker. And so the Kobe 2 was born. In these shoes Bryant averaged 31.6 points per game, 5.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists.
Legendary Nike designer Eric Avar took the reigns on Kobe’s third sneaker release. (above) A “Black Mamba” snake was the inspiration for the shoe. Bryant wanted a “sleek and deadly” concept. The diamond pattern of the upper and outsole was inspired by the name of Kobe’s daughter Diamante. With the Zoom Kobe 3’s on his feet, Kobe won his first League MVP award.
For this fourth sneaker (above) Kobe stuck with designer Eric Avar. Bryant wanted this to be the lightest, lowest basketball shoe without sacrificing support. This sneaker was supported by Nike Flywire technology, a Lunar foam midsole, and Zoom Air technology to make these have a smooth, cushioned ride. This was the shoe that Kobe wore when he collected his fourth Championship ring and won his first NBA Finals MVP award.
Next up was the Zoom Kobe 5’s (above). Kobe wanted to improve on the Zoom 4’s in every way. He looked to Eric Avar again and came up with the lightest, lowest basketball sneaker ever. The Zoom 5’s came in at an unheard of 10.6 ounces. This was made possible by utilizing the newest Nike Flywire technology. The new height of the shoe gave maximum mobility while giving your feet full range of motion without resistance. While wearing the 5’s Bryant averaged 27 points per game and collected his fifth NBA championship ring.
Finally, my personal favorite is the Zoom Kobe 6’s (above). This unique shoe design was inspired by the Black Mamba nickname. The 6’s use all the previous technology and upgrades the shoe even more by adding a duel density sock liner that molds to the players foot. Truly as if the shoe was made especially for you. Another upgrade was the Achillies notch for greater comfort. These have been a big hit for SneakerHeads around the world. The colorways they have been released in have been massive heat. My favorite so far has been the chaos 6’s. I am sure that there will be more heat to come from the Black Mamba but, for now its clear that Kobe will be remembered as one of the greats.