After last year’s grey, green and red explosion, Martin Luther King, Jr. day has become something of an unexpected shoe event in the NBA. Just a guess, but because so many people are off work, Nike probably realizes that there’s a greater chance that people will be watching TV throughout the day and will be more likely to spot a crazy pair of shoes. Ergo, crazy shoes, like these ones you see for Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant (individual images after the jump).

The shoes are part of a big Black History Month collection — Sole Collector has an excellent and extensive interview with the shoes’ designers that explains the inspiration for the shoes — that Nike will be debuting today, with players around the league wearing these or kicks similar to these. As you can see, the shoes are all based around a black and gold colorway, which makes a lot of sense for the Lakers and Hornets but not necessarily the Thunder. That being said, I think I like Durant’s kicks the best. Kobe’s are a little guady, Chris Paul’s are a little plain, but Durant’s find a nice middle ground in between. Flashy, but not too brazen — very Kevin Durant.

These are also, in my opinion, way better than last year’s Pan-African-inspired Nikes. That idea was cool, but on screen it just looked weird. There’s a reason shoes aren’t usually grey, green and red. Not to mention, the off-base association between MLK and Pan-Africanism that SB Nation’s Mike Prada elucidated at the time. This year — as well as Nike’s “Call to Greatness” campaign — is much better. Both looks-wise and meaning-wise.

Pictures of each shoe after the jump.

Nike Zoom Kobe VI

Jordan CP3.IV

Nike Zoom KD3

Comments (8)

  1. I’ll prbably enter blogger flame-war hell for this but….. man this “black” thing is a bit too much for me… Didn’t MLK want us all to be equal? All colors, together? Shouldn’t this campaign celebrate with rainbow colored shoes instead of black ones?

    Sick designs nonetheless.

  2. I think CP3′s are sick. I like them all, but that’s just a really good green, don’t see it a lot.

  3. Stefan, they’re not celebrating that he’s black, per se. They’re celebrating his striving for equality. The “greatness,” if you will. According to the Nike guys, when you see gold, you think great. The black is to give the gold more emphasis.

  4. I know this Trey, but still… I’m very aware that for the swing to come to a rest in the middle it still has to go to the opposite end of the motion, I’m just fed up with a certain double standard :) Nothing to do with the shoes or with TBJ for that matter. Iit is just something that a few friends and I had argued recently… My appologies for bringing up that topic.

    The KD3 shoes are awsome for me. Really classy design :)

  5. Love Nike Zoom Kobe VI

  6. The KD3s look amazing.

    I like the VIs except for the icon on the left side

  7. The KD’s look great. I didn’t like the KD3′s so far, but in this colorway is quite nice.

  8. To Trey and Stephen…I just wanted to commend you bought on discussing your debate like civilized individuals…no name calling, no cursing, no blatant disrespect, nothing derogatory period. Just two respectful young men intelligently stating their case. If our society had more guys like you two interacting the way you guys did, I believe the world would be a much better place this day and age. Take care, fellow “sneakerheads”.

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