The Great 8.
The 2018-2019 NBA season is now underway, a season which will surely be filled with subplots, drama, suspense, surprises, and new beginnings.
The most notable new beginning is LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers debut — a highly controversial yet emotional moment in the storied career of the greatest player of his generation and of the game today.
To commemorate James’ Laker debut, Nice Kicks throws it back to 2011 and the Nike LeBron 8, James’ sneaker of choice worn in his debut season with the Miami Heat.
The 2010-2011 NBA season saw James post averages of 26 points, 7 boards, and 7 dimes a night on 51% shooting. These are All-Star caliber stats by any reasonably objective measure. While James and his Miami Heat ultimately fell short of their goal of winning an NBA Championship in Miami – an accomplishment that would be fulfilled the following season – he once again made waves in the sneaker community by donning an avant-garde pair of basketball sneakers which truly embodied his personality, spirit, and served as an extension and complement of his beautiful game.
Designed by Jason Petrie, the Nike LeBron 8 signified, embodied, and illustrated the perpetual evolution and transformation of both the Nike LeBron signature line and the player for which they were designed.
Featuring a beautifully-crafted leather shell upper, speckled midsole, structural TPU-injected cage around a Flywire chassis for additional strength and stability, and topped off with a 360-degree visible Air Max bag for maximum protection during foot strike and hard landings, the LeBron 8 served as the ultimate tactical weapon for James’ versatile game.
The shoe propelled James both in the air during his forays to the rim and on the ground as well where his midrange and perimeter game would wreak havoc on defenders.
In addition, the outsole is also an engineering marvel, whose design is based on lightweight performance and minimalism while at the same time paying homage to LeBron, offering details pertaining to his personality and life. Featured along the outsole is a herringbone tread made especially for James, in addition to heel flex grooves which resemble the number 8.
The most intricate and significant detail of the LeBron 8, however, is the presence of the Lion located on the front side of the tongue signifying LeBron’s ravenous nature – a hunter on the basketball court – a symbol of his thirst for success and constant pursuit of his next goal.
Other details placed throughout the shoe include his signature with Nike Swoosh placed at the heel, the word, “Witness” on the insole, as well as the number 828 on the inside of the tongue representing the 82 regular season games and the 28 playoff games played.
A plethora of colorways released including a highly memorable “South Beach” version which remains a coveted piece among LeBron fans and collectors today.
LeBron is now ready to enter the next chapter in his professional basketball career, a season in which longtime Lakers fans hope will see their beloved team return to the Promised Land.
While many Laker legends have graced the hardwood in purple and gold throughout the franchise’s rich history before him – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaq, Kobe Bryant, and Jerry West, to name just a few – LeBron, simply put, is his own man, a player, leader, humanitarian, global sports icon and brand ambassador who defines his own success according to his own terms.
He is, undoubtedly, the new King of LA, and we will surely witness greatness, once again.