One of the defining shoes for Russell Westbrook was the flagship Air Jordan XX8. The initial reaction for sneakerheads was mixed, as the high-cut design polarized the masses. While the main Jordan shoe typically takes up to 18 months to design, the shoes seemed to fit Westbrook’s fashion-forward vision to a T. Russ also later rocked the XX8 SE, which removed the high shroud and kept the sole.
The technology in the sole was revolutionary due to the Flight Plate. As the name suggests, this provides support in the midsole but also allowed for cutouts to “unlock” the forefoot Zoom Air unit. This helped you really feel the responsive cushioning directly under your foot which also had the bottom of the unit close to the ground. This maximized the bouncy feeling when striking directly on the forefoot.
Despite having the best record in the West, the OKC Thunder were dealt a huge blow when Russ tore his meniscus against James Harden and the Rockets. While KD and the Thunder were able to advance, missing Westbrook didn’t help in the second round which the Grizzlies won in 5 games.
The Brodie would go into the following season in the Air Jordan XX8 as well and was quick to want to prove that he still had it.
Unfortunately, Russ had two more knee surgeries due to complications from the initial meniscus tear. Westbrook would end up missing 36 regular season games in the 2013-14 season. While out, he saw teammate Kevin Durant win the MVP award for the first time, with Russ’s eyes peering at the MVP trophy during the ceremony. The Brodie’s time would come.