Pretty pictures: Alberto Russo's House of Hoops illustrations

When Nike decided to debut a new House of Hoops location in Miami back in October, it commissioned artist Alberto Russo to create a handful of illustrations to commemorate the grand opening. I missed the super dope drawings back then, but thanks to a tip from the indestructible Tas Melas, mine eyes saw the glory at the Behance Network's website Thursday morning.

In addition to the beautiful rendering of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant(notes) depicted at right, Russo created eye-popping illustrations of LeBron James(notes) and Dwyane Wade(notes) of the hometown Miami Heat (don't worry, Chris Bosh(notes), your portrait is totally coming right up, just as soon as Russo can get to it, but he's super busy right now, so please, stop calling), as well as Oklahoma City Thunder stud Kevin Durant(notes). The mixture of traditional pencil/marker technique with Photoshop illustration and digital manipulation gives the pictures a feel that's simultaneously sharply realistic and dramatically expansive, and the coloring in the background is fantastic. All of which is to say, they look pretty cool.

Click through to the Behance Network site to check out the portraits of James, Wade and Durant, as well as a neat type treatment claiming that "no other city represents the future of basketball like Miami."

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