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Kobe Bryant‘s ninth signature sneaker with Nike was a pioneer in a wave of ways, from its ultra-high silhouette to its Flyknit construction, and now the Nike Kobe 9 has turned into one of the most modified models to date. Originally designed around the Black Mamba’s preceding achilles injury, the first basketball shoe with Flyknit technology was rolled out as a skyscraper, but soon received multiple modifications to create an entire line of the Kobe 9. Although its endorser never laced a pair in his six NBA games last season, almost all of the variations have proven to be wildly successful. The lengthy list includes samples and the first Elite basketball edition, a lifestyle rendition, Engineered Mesh and Flyknit low-tops, culminating in a brand new version that adds a new chapter this weekend.

Leading up to the debut of the new Nike Kobe 9 Mid EXT that releases this Saturday, we look back at all of the previous versions of the model to date. Keep scrolling and clicking to get a full history lesson on the Nike Kobe 9, and keep shooting to Nice Kicks for everything sneakers.

Kobe 9 Samples

Before any version of the Nike Kobe 9 released to the public, stacks of samples were considered. As the first basketball shoe with Nike’s complex Flyknit material, the direction of Kobe Bryant’s new signature was clearly a thorough though process. Different variations including mid and high-tops, as well as materials, were evaluated before the threaded and towering silhouette was put into production. The final sample of the Nike Kobe 9 Elite was spotted on the feet of the Black Mamba himself, right before the unveiling, as seen below.

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