There are a number of ways that an NBA player knows that he’s become a star. He could get voted to an All-Star. He could help his team win a championship. Or, he could land some major endorsements. But, the true testament of a basketball player’s popularity is if he receives a signature pair of kicks.
Over the years, you can probably tell which players have become legends because of their shoes. Some, like Michael Jordan, are not only known for their skills on the court, but also the shoes that were named after them.
There are lots of players to choose from, but here are 20 NBA Players Who Have Shoes Named After Them.
20. Stephon Marbury
In 2006, Stephon Marbury of the New York Knicks teamed up with Steve & Barry’s for a lineup of $14.98 basketball shoes to compete with higher-priced products endorsed by celebrity athletes. Both parties claimed that the shoes were of the same quality as expensive counterparts.
19. Yao Ming
After the Houston Rockets signed the 7-ft. 5 Yao, Reebok was quick to cash in on the number one overall pick in the 2002 Draft. The Chinese native wore his first shoe during his rookie season, but the Yao Ming Reebok Hexride featuring a red and gold dragon for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing might be our favorite.
18. Dikembe Mutombo
The 7-ft. 2 native of Zaire, now Congo, received his own shoes while with the Denver Nuggets during the 1992/93 NBA season. Released by adidas, the Mutombos were a retro high-top with TPU lace tabs and a funky Cross-Colours motif that reflected his homeland.
17. Kevin Garnett
KG was given his first shoe, the Nike Air Garnett in 1998 in Minnesota Timberwolves colors. After three signature shoes, Nike used KG to push the Flightposite line and its sleek design and futuristic technology. In 2008, Garnett left The Swoosh for adidas.
16. Scottie Pippen
Despite being overshadowed by MJ, Scottie Pippen held his own in the shoe department. After the Bulls star rocked the Nike Air Flight Lite during the 1990 / 91 season, Pippen was rewarded with his own the Nike Air Pippen 1, which has become a favorite amongst collectors.
15. Tracy McGrady
While playing with the Orlando Magic in 2002, T-Mac received his first shoe. The adidas T-Mac 1 debuted later that year and was so popular that it helped adidas compete with rivals Nike and Reebok.
14. Kevin Durant
The OKC Thunder superstar was rewarded by a seven-year deal with Nike with his own signature shoe line. The line has since become a favorite amongst sneakerheads and is already on the Nike Zoom KD VI.
13. Dwight Howard
After being drafted by the Orlando Magic in 2004, the high-school sensation quickly got his own shoes, the a3 Superstar Ultra II by adidas. These high tops are remembered for the “D12H” embroidery near the forefoot.
12. Dwyane Wade
When Dwyane Wade entered the NBA in 2003, he was endorsed by Converse. After six years with the brand, Wade switched to Converse’s brother label, Jordan. Wade debuted a couple iterations of the iconic Air Jordan shoes before joining Li-Ning in 2012. The partnership will allow the Heat star to start his own brand of shoes.
11. Chris Paul
While he was still with New Orleans, the Jordan Brand dropped Chris Paul’s first signature shoe in February of 2008. Since then, Jordan continues to release the CP line. Paul even rocked the Air Jordan XX3 Player Edition, which was made specifically for him.
10. Vince Carter
The Puma Vinsanity was unleashed during the 1998 / 99 season, but that was only a one-time deal. Carter spent the next season with his only adidas shoe, And1 Tai Chi, before sticking with The Swoosh. His first Nike release was the Nike Shox BB4.
9. Derrick Rose
Rose signed with adidas after being drafted by the Bulls in 2008, but he didn’t get his first signature shoe until 2010 with the adidas adiZero Rose. The black/red/white colorway shoe was just the first of many for the brand’s main roster member.
8. Carmelo Anthony
Melo has been a member of the Jordan Brand since he was drafted by Denver in 2003. Air Melo Line has since become one of the best-selling shoes of the brand and has released nine different versions. His first official signature, the Melo 1.5, is celebrating its 10th Anniversary, which means it’s time for a retro.
7. Charles Barkley
Sir Charles signed with The Swoosh back in 1984, which also resulted in classics ads like the “I Am Not a Role Model” spot. During his career with the Sixers and Suns, Barkley released several signature shoes, like the Nike Air Max. In 2013, Nike unveiled the Barkley Posite Max.
6. Shaquille O’Neal
Reebok signed the 7-ft. 1 in Shaq and began releasing his signature shoes in 1992. The Shaq Attaqs may have launched O’Neal’s entry into the sneaker world, but the Reebok Shaqnosis, originally released in 1995, made his shoes legendary. Reebok Classic is now re-releasing Shaq’s signature kicks.
5. Allen Iverson
The former 76er teamed up with Reebok in 1996 for the iconic Question. AI’s first signature became a favorite amongst fans and is one of the best-selling basketball shoes of all time. The Question was followed by The Answer and both shoes have had plenty of re-releases.
4. Julius Erving
Soon after the ABA/NBA merger in 1976, Dr. J inked an endorsement deal with Converse, which made him the first pro basketball player to officially endorse a sneaker. His signature was featured on the revolutionary Pro Leather, also known as “The Dr. J,” which remains one of the brand’s most popular silhouettes. Erving sported Converse throughout the remainder of his career, including the Sixers Championship in 1983.
3. Kobe Bryant
During his rookie year in 1997, Kobe rocked the adidas EQT Elevation. The following season, he had his first signature shoe, the KB8. In 2004, Kobe joined The Swoosh and was wearing the Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K4. In 2006, the Nike Zoom Kobe I dropped, and the rest is history.
2. LeBron James
LBJ was already making waves before he was drafted by the Cavs in 2003, which is why Nike signed him to a $90-million endorsement deal before he even set foot in the NBA. Nike gave the King his own signature line of kicks, the Nike Air Zoom Generations, during his rookie season. Today, LeBron is one of the three signature athletes that represent Nike Basketball and who is already up to releasing the LeBron XI.
1. Michael Jordan
His Airness had his first signature shoe, the Air Jordan, released in 1985. Today, the Air Jordan is one of the most popular and iconic shoes of all time. It’s so large now that Nike had to expand Air Jordan into its own separate brand.
See also The History of the First Air Jordan Shoe.
NBA stars’ photos via Image Collect
Just a typical guy that wants an ice-cold PBR with some pizza and wings to go with football on a Sunday. Since venturing into the blogosphere many years ago to discuss his favorite tunes, Al has now moved onto online publications by Alpha Brand Media such as SoJones and AMOG to blab about anything and everything else that matters.