Superstar players on the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are looking to bring some added flair to their footwear in the NBA Finals, utilizing the league’s allowance of gold accents to style new trophy-inspired sneaker silhouettes.
All 15 Cavs players wear Nike, highlighted by signature players LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Warriors are more varied: Stephen Curry has his Under Armour sponsorship, 11 players wear Nike, two wear adidas and Klay Thompson has a unique China-branded partnership.
With some possible surprises in store, here’s a look at the shoes each team’s top players will be wearing during the Finals.
LeBron James: Nike Zoom Soldier 11
For the second consecutive year, James will be wearing a fully laceless, strapped-up sneaker on the Finals stage. This year’s Zoom Soldier 11 adds one more strap into the mix than last year’s model, with four Velcro-fastening panels.
Look for him to wear a different color each game in varying Cavs hues with metallic gold logo accents. The shoes also feature a sizable “Swoosh” logo along the bottom and “LJ” on the sole, with Nike looking to take advantage of James’ high-flying game.
Kyrie Irving: Nike Kyrie 3
Since the much-anticipated Christmas Day matchup against the Warriors, Irving has been playing in his third Nike signature shoe. The Kyrie 3 has a piston-outsole-inspired design to help Irving change direction. While the shoe features technology aimed to provide both speed and support, there are also a few subtle details that connect to Irving’s upbringing.
The “JBY” acronym – “Just Be You” – is a saying his mother, Elizabeth, stressed to him as a child, and the “H+H” – “Hungry and humble” – is what his father, Drederick, engrained in him. “Hungry and humble is something my dad gave me as a kid that I most likely will give to my daughter, whether she plays sports or not,” Irving said. “It’s always staying hungry for more and never being satisfied. Acknowledging the present moment, what you’ve accomplished, and then thinking about what’s up ahead and how you’ll prepare yourself for that.”
Kevin Love: Nike Hyperdunk 2016
Since signing with Nike after his first season in Cleveland in 2015, Love has received his own share of custom Cavs colorway sneakers. Now he even has his own logo. Styled by Nike Basketball senior designer Darien Birks, the logo celebrates Love’s late-game defensive stops in last year’s Finals, while also paying homage to growing up just outside Portland, Oregon.
“Kevin wanted the mark to embody a few things,” Birks said. “He wanted something that suggested his style of play as a high-energy, two-way player, his family and his strong foundation growing up in Oregon – hence the iconic Douglas fir. Finally, he wanted it to be bold, recognizable and timeless.”
Kevin Durant: Nike KD X
For Durant, his 10th signature shoe is more evolution than revolution, as it closely mirrors the regular-season KD 9, with a more tailored fit and a thicker and wider lacing system for more support. That was by design, as the 9 served as one of his favorite sneakers to “just hoop” in, as he termed it, and the newer model also introduced Nike’s Flyknit upper material to the equation.
“The laces are big and stand out from a mile away,” Durant said. “It is one element … I talk about when working on designs — one thing that goes under the radar is the laces.”
Klay Thompson: Anta KT2
Thompson will be donning his signature Anta sneaker in a white and gold celebratory edition at home. Featuring his sharp “KT11” logo along the tongue, with gold flake accents throughout both the clear bottom and midsole, the shoe acknowledges “The Chase.”
Representing Thompson’s quest to avenge last year’s Finals loss, extra details throughout play off the team’s renewed pursuit for another championship.
Draymond Green: Nike React Hyperdunk Flyknit 2017
When Green first got a taste of NBA playoff success early in his career, he was understandably more of an afterthought for Nike and was actually wearing LeBron’s Soldier team sneaker. Now a James rival who’s carved out a marketing profile of his own, Nike is utilizing the outspoken Green to debut its biggest team shoe of the summer.
“To be the first to wear the latest Hyperdunk means the world to me. We’re talking about Nike Basketball here, the biggest athletes in the world and being the first one to actually try this new technology is amazing,” Green said. “When you’re talking about Nike, you’re talking things that last for decades.”
The Hyperdunk series – Nike’s longtime staple sneaker that launched in 2008 with Kobe Bryant – turns 10 this year and has an entirely new foam technology dubbed “React.” It’s wavy in appearance and aims to be the company’s most responsive foam cushioning to date.
Stephen Curry: Under Armour Curry 4
For the first time in his career, Stephen Curry is utilizing the Finals not just to wear a special edition of his current model, but to debut next season’s sneaker as well.
His fourth shoe features a knit upper construction and sculpted speed plate for quicker cuts, with gold accents throughout the mostly white pair he’ll wear for home games. The shoe also places more emphasis on his own “SC30” logo, seen prominently on the midsole, while Under Armour’s brand logo is more subtle, spotted just along the heel. For now, Curry will wear the sneaker nearly half a year early – it’s not slated to release until the fall.
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