2. Which player, in terms of Kicks On Court, are you most looking forward to checking out during opening week?
Sweeney: This one’s easy: Nate Robinson. He is a beast on social media and Kicks On Court, constantly trying to outdo the competition. And while the Raptors’ entire team gets the added benefit of their colors being very Jordan-friendly, Robinson is now in Denver. When Carmelo Anthony played there, he rocked some of the nicest Jordan PEs I’ve ever seen. Nate’s sneaker game will probably be even better — the colors are just too sick.
McMenamin: Russell Westbrook. Not only will Westbrook be looking to make a splash as any superstar would to announce his comeback from a major injury, but Westbrook is a guy who uses postgame press conferences as his personal runway shows and spent part of his summer at Fashion Week in New York. It’s inevitable that his fashionista ways will bleed onto his on-court footwear. Plus, he’s with the Jordan Brand. I’m talking retros. I’m talking one-off colorways. I’m talking something that’s really cool that maybe I don’t even know about.
MacKenzie: Derrick Williams, of course. And half of the Toronto Raptors roster because they’ve developed a bit of a shoe competition where each guy is trying to one up the other. They’ve also fallen hard into a Jordan rabbit hole and have been pulling out some gems.
Twersky: When you sign with a brand, especially when you sign and become one of the [non-signature athletes] of the brand, you have little say as to what you can break out to wear on the court. That’s why it’s a blessing that Nate Robinson and Monta Ellis aren’t actually signed to JB. The fact that they don’t get paid to play in Jordans means that they can wear whatever model they want. With Robinson on the Nuggets and Ellis on the Mavs, look for some daily heat on their feet. Another obvious candidate, Nick Young, is sure to don some interesting purples and golds now that he’s on the Lakers. On a quieter, somewhat more subtle note, keep an eye on Paul George, Nerlens Noel (depending on when he makes it back from surgery on his ACL), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Shane Larkin and DeMar DeRozan.
Kerby: I’ll be checking for both Nate Robinson and Nick Young. Nate had a perfect scenario last year, being able to wear all of his fancy Jordans for Michael Jordan’s old team, but I think the Nuggets’ powder blue and gold will really be a nice scheme for him to mess around with. I feel the same about Nick Young, who is sure to wear some Kobes that even Kobe doesn’t remember.
Kiel: Ray Allen. I have a vivid memory of him wearing a special white, green and gold Air Jordan 11 player exclusive in Boston’s season opener following their 2008 Championship. Since Ray is coming off of his second championship – in which he played a big part in with the shot from the corner – it’s not far-fetched to expect Mr. Shuttlesworth wearing a white, red and gold player exclusive of the same shoe in Miami’s season opener against Chicago. Jordan Brand does above and beyond for Ray Allen. I’m calling it now.
Wong: Matt Bonner. I keeeed. Probably Nate. Even when he was our video game editor for HOOP, Nate was never afraid to express himself in any way to entertain his fans and give them what they want. He also understands the importance of marketing himself, whether it’s through social media, his S.O.N. video series or through sneakers.
Whitaker: Kevin Durant. I’m admittedly biased regarding the KD VI, but the shoe came out over the summer so he hasn’t really worn them in games until this season. And I like the color-blocking of the shoe — it feels like Nike could do some really neat stuff with it.
Ungvari: Derrick Rose. Not only do I miss watching him play, not only am I sick of people making jokes about him and questioning his toughness, but I love the Black/Light Scarlet Englewood Low D Rose 4s. I’m also a fan of the “D Rose” Superstars, and I can’t wait to check them out up close.
Cason: I would have to go Nate Robinson because of some of the things he chose not to wear last season. The Jordan tribute was nice, but this is a guy whose favorite shoe is the Nike Air Max CB34 and I know he could have done some other tributes to foes of Jordan. But having Tom Thibodeau as a coach tends to keep you focused on other aspects on the floor. He also has several NIKEiDs just waiting to see the light of day. I’m also looking forward to DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay as they seemed like they were competing with one another last year. Last but not least, I want to see what Nike and Jordan have cooked up for LeBron James and Ray Allen with the ring ceremony being on opening night.