For the first time ever, LeBron James wore someone else’s signature shoe in a competitive basketball game.
The special occasion came from tragic circumstances, as this was the first game the Los Angeles Lakers played since Kobe Bryant’s tragic death. James wore the Nike Kobe 1 Protro first to deliver a speech to Staples Center. He concluded with “Mamba Out, but never forgotten” referencing the last thing Kobe said during his final game in 2016. King James would continue to wear the white and purple Kobe 1 Protro for most of the first half. This is the same colorway Bryant wore for his 81 point performance against the Raptors.
James eventually switched back to the Nike Kobe 5 Protro in the second half before reverting back to his signature LeBron 17.
The Nike Kobe 1 originally dropped in 2005 before re-releasing in 2018 as an updated “Protro” version. This made the Kobe 1 lighter while adding more cushioning with full-length Zoom Air. The soft leather upper remained, as did the carbon fiber support shank.
Cover image via NBA Kicks (Twitter)