LeBron James, love him or hate him, is without a doubt one of the greatest, if not the greatest, basketball players of all time. He goes by many nicknames: King James, The Chosen One, LeGoat, etc. He’s already cemented his legacy by bringing a championship to the title starved fans of Cleveland, Ohio. He also has one of the most recognizable brands and sneakers, under Nike, with a staggering net worth of just under half a billion dollars. Here we’ll go back and check out all of King James signature shoes that he’s worn on the court throughout the years as he’s gone from hyped high school phenom to King of Ohio.
Nike Zoom Generation (2003-2004)
This is where it all began. These shoes debuted on the court on October 29th, 2003, which so happened to be LeBron’s first ever game in the NBA. These shoes have gone on the record as being LeBron’s most priceless sneaker in his collection and also one of his favorites. However, the date he remembers most fondly is November 5th, 2003, the day he played in front of his hometown crowd for the first time against his fellow rookie and future rival Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets. It was that game that he debuted the iconic white and red “First Game” Zoom Generations. This sneaker helped LeBron capture the Rookie of the Year Award that year and come in 2nd among rookies in scoring with an impressive 20.9 ppg (points per game), behind Denver’s Carmelo Anthony.
Nike Zoom LeBron II (2004-2005)
With the success of LeBron’s first sneaker and Rookie of the Year season there was little surprise that LeBron’s 2nd signature shoe the Nike Zoom LeBron II was arguably the most anticipated shoe of the 2004-2005 season. These shoes debuted on the court on November 3rd, 2004 against the Indiana Pacers and would be later released on November 6th, 2004 to retail. Though only four colorways would be released to the public they would all sell out instantly. One of the colorways, an all black design, would commemorate LeBron’s birthday on December 20th. Another one of the colorways would commemorate LeBron James making the All Star Game, his first of many. With LeBron’s star rising and their comfort and design, according to LeBron and Nike fans, the LeBron II’s were a slam dunk on and off the court.
Nike Zoom Lebron III (2005-2006)
By the time the 2005-2006 season came along LeBron James had already surpassed everybody’s expectations. He was a high-flying, power dunking freak of nature and one of the most popular athletes in the world and he wasn’t even of legal drinking age. And with the popularity of LeBron’s first two signature shoes Nike had the unenviable task of stepping their game up higher to please not only the King himself but millions of fans who fell in love with the LeBron II’s comfort and design. The end result was….meh, at least according to the fans. Without any new features or any breakthrough designs many fans felt as if the LeBron III was just the LeBron II with a new coat of paint. However, it wasn’t lacking in the colorway department as the LeBron III had almost as many colorways as the Zoom Generation and LeBron II’s combined. Nonetheless, with his third signature shoe and ever-increasing worldwide popularity, it was clear that LeBron was becoming one of the new faces of Nike basketball.
Nike Zoom Lebron IV (2006-2007
Now if LeBron was popular before, this next season put him on a completely different level. Prior to the 2006 -2007 season one gripe that people would always use against LeBron was that he wasn’t clutch or a winner. This season put an end to that criticism (at least temporarily) as LeBron would single handedly carry the Cavaliers to their first ever NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. And on his feet during that incredible run were the ever so popular LeBron IV’s. What made those sneakers so popular were their use of the signature Nike Foamposite material. In fact, they were the first sneakers to use that material since 2003. And along with its stylish new-look, not to mention its unique zipper case packaging, this was, arguably, the most anticipated Nike basketball shoe of the 21st century.
It’s clear to see why these sneakers have developed a cult like following since their initial release. In fact many fans have even started to anticipate a new retro line of LeBron’s old kicks. Regardless if that ever happens or not the fact remains that this was only the beginning of the signature and now iconic LeBron brand. Next time I’ll cover LeBron’s 2008-2012 seasons and signature kicks as he goes from beloved superstar to the guy everyone loved to hate. Oh and heads up. LeBron really turns up the “Heat” (get it?) with his future sneaker releases. Should be fun. Peace.