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