Our #KoFBestOf2016 features continue with LeBron James giving some love to the lower priced shoes that feature his name, making them more relevant than ever before.

Joe Murphy /NBAE via Getty Images
Joe Murphy /NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James will do whatever it takes to win. How do I know this? When he made the greatest play of his career to date – the epic chasedown block on Andre Iguodala during last season’s NBA Finals – he was wearing the Nike LeBron Soldier 10. In the biggest game on the biggest stage, James went with the takedown sneaker. He could have worn the $275 Nike LeBron 13 Elite, the $200 13 or even $150 13 Low. But he went with the $130 Soldier. Since then, we’ve seen the Soldier 10 in commercials (see above), collbas and cleats. That’s not for nothing and Nike has finally capitalized. I say “finally” because LeBron has been “stepping down” for years.

Sports Illustrated New York Daily News NBA/Getty Images

When James made his first NBA Finals appearance in 2007, he didn’t wear the Nike Zoom LeBron 4. In fact, he didn’t wear the Nike Zoom LeBron 3 for his first career playoff game in 2006. For his Finals debut, he rocked the first Nike Zoom Soldier and in the year prior, his first playoff run began in the Nike LeBron 20-5-5.

In 2013, when James abandoned his signature Nike LeBron 11 for much of the season in favor of the Nike LeBron Soldier 7. We made the requisite jokes because that’s what we do, blaming Mario Chalmers for not being there to pick up the shipment from Kentucky. We even went so far as to declare the Soldier 7 his true signature shoe form that season. And now the Soldier 10 has taken on a similar role. The difference between then and now is the fact that Nike and sneakerheads have embraced that reality.

No other signature athlete has made better use of his entire arsenal like LeBron. He wears his signatures, the Soldiers, the Asia-exclusive Ambassadors and everything in between. Sure, Jordan Brand has produced hundreds of Team Jordans through the years and all, but there’s a reason why few ever matter to the community at large. And no Team Jordan has ever been elevated to the stature of the Soldier 10.

Nike Nike Nike

For as much of a Michael Jordan fanboy that I can never picture him wearing Team Js during his Bulls days and that was part of his mystique that made him just slightly out of reach. Seeing LeBron in kicks that most people can afford and win championships with them? That matters. Seeing John Elliot design a LeBron Soldier 10? That matters. Seeing a LeBron Soldier 10 getting the same attention on NIKEiD that a “Championship Pack” normally would and selling out in minutes? That matters. Seeing the Ohio State Buckeyes take the field in the rivalry game against Michigan in Soldier 10 cleats? That matters. It matters to the parents who can’t afford the more expensive shoes for their kids. It matters to the kids who admire James but think the 13s are out of reach. It matters to the hypebeasts who might want to wear a LeBron shoe but think the signatures are trash. When the man himself wears the shoes and he’s shown a willingness to “step down” that matters.

The post #KoFBestOf2016: LeBron James Legitimizes The Takedown Sneaker appeared first on KicksOnFire.com.

Comments are closed.