NBA basketball is back this week, and thus, so is Kicks On Court. While LeBron James, Nick Young and others will be competing for this year’s KOC Champion crown, where do they rank in the all-time hierarchy of NBA sneaker stars?
The Nice Kicks staff sat down, discussed and debated which NBA players have had the biggest impact and influence on the presence of footwear in today’s game. After much thought and consideration, we narrowed it down to The 25 Most Important Sneaker Stars in NBA History. Who made the cut? Read on to find out who and why. Share your take on the list on social media by using the hashtag #KOC25.
25. Rasheed Wallacephoto by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images via Zimbio
Rocking retros to hoop in may be the norm in 2014, but it wasn’t during the 1990s, or even the 2000s for that matter. Leave it to Rasheed Wallace to break the rules. After an All-American campaign in Chapel Hill, #30 stepped onto the hardwood of the nation’s capital in all-black Nike Air Force 1 Highs. The rest? History.
Mostly avoiding the forward-thinking Air Max and Zoom Air assisted models that his contemporaries would push, Sheed started sporting Air Force 1s consistently on court around the 1999 season. A trend-hopper? Nah, this was three years before Nelly would make them splash on radio and 17 years after they originally released. Perhaps it was being an old soul or maybe it was lockout angst, but the Portland power forward would ditch performance pairs and essentially make the Air Force 1 his own. Nike would soon follow suit, releasing rare renditions with Sheed branding and team themed color combos.
Even as a veteran with the New York Knicks, Sheed still made Kicks On Court headlines by breaking out suede PEs in the Garden. He remained relevant in retail, too, launching Lunarlon Forces in NYC colorways. While footwear fads come and go, Rasheed Wallace not only endorsed a retro model over the course of his career, he also embodied it by being the grizzly guy at the gym who knew what he liked and stuck to it.