The Nike Air Zoom Generation was the first shoe in the LeBron James signature line from Nike. Chosen first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James made an instant impact as both a player and a shoe icon. On top of winning the Rookie of the Year Award, LeBron James was also the third player in history behind Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson to average 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in during their rookie season.

 

Nike Air Zoom Generation (2003) Nike Air Zoom Generation (2003) Nike Air Zoom Generation (2003)
lebron-zoom-generation-white-black-redNike Air Zoom Generation White/Black-Red nike-air-zoom-generation-first-game-Nike Air Zoom Generation White/Crimson lebron-zoom-generation-black-white-red-323-300x202Nike Air Zoom Generation Black/Red-White
Nike Air Zoom Generation (2003) Nike Air Zoom Generation (2003) Nike Air Zoom Generation (2003)
lebron-zoom-generation-white-red-323-300x202Nike Air Zoom Generation White/White-Crimson nike-air-zoom-generation-wheat-2004-300x210Nike Air Zoom Generation Wheat/Wheat air-zoom-generation-lebronNike Air Zoom Generation Black/Black-Gold
Nike Air Zoom Generation Low (2003) Nike Air Zoom Generation Low (2003) Nike Air Zoom Generation Low (2003)
lebron-zoom-generation-low-white-silver-323-300x202Nike Air Zoom Generation White/White-Silve lebron-zoom-generation-low-white-navy-red-323-300x202Nike Air Zoom Generation White/Navy lebron-zoom-generation-low-white-royal-323-300x202Nike Air Zoom Generation White/Navy

 

The Nike Air Zoom Generation – colloquially referred to as the LeBron 1 – had a design inspiration based on LeBron James’ Hummer H2. The primary cushioning unit utilized was Zoom Air, which served as a precedent for the entire Nike LeBron line until the Nike Air Max LeBron 7 made the switch to Air Max cushioning. The Air Zoom Generation featured an upper constructed of leather and ballistic nylon; the White/Varsity Crimson was entirely leather while the All-Star “Wheat” Colorway was entirely nubuck. The sole captivating design cue was the faux-chrome bumper, which was important both visually and structurally; it acted as a heel stabilizer that prevented side-to-side movement. Other structural points of interest were the inner “bootie” and the Sphere temperature-regulating material. The Zoom Air, heel stabilizer, inner sock-liner, and Sphere material resulted in the Nike AZG being one of the most comfortable, well-ventilated shoes in the entire Nike LeBron shoes line.

Sales of the the first LeBron shoes proved that Nike’s premature decision to sign LeBron James was one of their shrewdest business decisions of the decade; LeBron James lived beyond the hype, and the AZG followed suit by experience near sell-out sales numbers. The Nike AZG, without a doubt the least flashiest of the entire LeBron line, set the perfect tone for Nike to cultivate LeBron James into the sports-apparel powerhouse he is today.

Retro Rumors of Nike Air Zoom Generation

In 2006, photos surfaced of a sample of a retro AZG fueling the rumor mill and buzz that we would soon see them hit shelves. Unfortunately for LeBron and sneaker fans, the pair was a cancelled sample and there has yet to be a retro. Following LeBron James’ first NBA Championship and third MVP, talk started back up again on forums and blogs about would the time be right for a retro release of the Nike Air Zoom Generation.

LeBron James Shoes                      Nike Zoom LeBron II