Top Flight: 10 Best Sneakers From the All-Star Hall of Fame
Photo: skynesher (Getty Images)
Winning the All-Star game may earn you some serious bragging rights, but these days that’s nothing compared to what happens when you win the All-Star sneaker game. Every year the NBA‘s top players collaborate with the sneaker industry’s top designers to roll out a year’s worth of new looks, incorporating cutting edge technology, and hoping to set the latest trend on fire.
We mined through all of the releases from the past weekend to bring you the latest in top flight kicks and compared them to some of the greatest hoop footwear of all time. Take flight with these killer kicks that bring enough flash to the court to light up a night game.
Hoop dream threads: NBA Players With All-Star Red Carpet Style
LeBron James: LeBron Nike 16 'Watch the Throne'
The reigning king of the court has been the reigning king of kicks for the past several years. This year, LeBron James surprised fans by unveiling a special edition shoe inspired by Jay-Z and Kanye West's seminal album, Watch The Throne. This sneaker screams royalty up and down the court with black Battleknit upper, floral-patterned laces and inner lining, topped with gold flecks and swoosh.
Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE (Getty Images)
Kevin Durant: Nike KD 11 'Aunt Pearl'
All-Star game? All-pink sneak. Dedicated to women battling cancer, MVP Kevin Durant's shoe, dubbed the "Aunt Pearl," is a straightforward, classic design kick with a purpose that pops.
Photo: Joe Murhph/NBAE (Getty Images)
Martin Bagley III: Puma Uproar All-Star 1
Multiple colorways seem to be the theme of 2019, and the Puma xxx is a perfect example. With colors taken from the old Phoenix Suns jerseys and a color nod to the hosting city of Charlotte, these sneakers could be the start of a new trend. Or they could leave fans wondering, "Whose team are you on anyway?" We're digging the ambivalence.
Steph Curry: Under Armour 6 'Jacket'
A nod to Steph Curry's childhood in Charlotte, Under Armour designed this sneaker to be a combination of Warriors gold and Hornets blue. Another example of the bi-polar colorway, these sneakers helped Curry slip in some of his customary perimeter shots. Though Curry's team lost, the city of Charlotte won when Curry asked sponsor Under Armour to skip the sneaker release party and donate the funds to a local rec center instead. He shoots, he scores.
Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE (Getty Images)
Kyrie Irving: Nike Kyrie V
This basic-looking shoe seeks to highlight Kyrie Irving's footwork and handling with a neon yellow mid-sole holding up a black and white body with red and blue accents. With lines inspired by the ancient pyramids, the matching limestone laces left no doubt how Irving's magic moves lit up the court, scoring 13 for Team LeBron.
Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE (Getty Images)
Damian Lillard: Adidas Dame 5 'NASCAR'
Damian Lillard sported these low-top winners from Adidas. With beautiful, aerodynamic lines, a color ribbon streaked across an urban stencil suede wall, and a herringbone outsole, this sneaker was made to turn heads. There is something of Basquiat in its controlled decay, and it may shape up to be an instant classic.
Michael Jordan: Air Jordan III
How do this year's new releases compare to the past? Take a look at the sneaker that started it all. Officially unveiled at the 1988 All-Star games, this best-selling shoe not only introduced the classic flying dunk icon to footwear, it convinced Jordan to renew his contract with Nike at a time when the legendary collaboration was on the rocks. The rest is history.
Grant Hill: Fila GH 2 1995
One of the NBA's all-time standout rookies, Grant Hill earned a seat on the All-Star team right out of the gate. The following year he released his sophomore signature shoe, a design-defying product that left all sneaker conventions behind. With a Fila triangle framing the entire shoe, the traditional lines that had heretofore been a part of basketball footwear would never be the same.
LeBron James: Zoom LeBron VI All-Star
By far LeBron James' most sensible looking shoe, this 2009 release sought to bridge the gap between court-wear and street-wear. No other design looked as balanced and trim as this standout from designer Ken Link, which harkened back to the basic elements of the Air Force One line.
Kobe Bryant: 2014 All-Star Nike Kobe IX Elite Masterpiece Woven
You don't often see high-tops this high, but for some reason this old-school-meets-new design released in 2014 is oddly spectacular. With a mesh-work upper, a gold swoosh and tongue symbol, and a kryptonite green sole, this is the shoe that Superman himself would be down to wear on any court in Krypton II. Let the games begin.