With the preseason having passed, NBA Opening Week has arrived, and for the Los Angeles Lakers that means a pair of games with the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets. The Lakers tip off the 2018-19 season on Thursday at the Moda Center.
It’s just the fourth time in NBA history that the Lakers and Trail Blazers will meet in what’s a season opener for both teams. The last came in 2008, when Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol led the way in a 97-76 rout at Staples Center.
When the Lakers take the court Thursday night it will officially mark the start of a new era, one with LeBron James at the lead. His signing a four-year contract with the Lakers in free agency this year sent shockwaves throughout the league and essentially signaled the end of a rebuild.
James joined the Lakers without assurances of a second All-Star also signing, which has placed added pressure on the likes of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and veterans who signed one-year deals.
Under a broader scope, the NBA is seeing changes this season in terms of footwear as the rules and restrictions have been lifted. Now, players can wear sneakers of any color makeup for any game, rather than being limited to showcasing their style for select dates.
That news came at a time when Nike was hosting athletes at their headquarters to create specially designed shoes through Nike iD. Although the rules were loosened, Kuzma opted to keep with the Lakers’ colors.
He created a “Kuzz Control” model of the Nike Kobe A.D. that will be worn for Opening Week.
Kuzma wore various Kobe signature shoes throughout his rookie season and was partial to the new A.D. during the preseason this year.
He didn’t alter much on what can be found with a standard release of the model. Aside from the purple stripe and yellow on the medial side of the shoe, Kuzma’s true touch comes on the back of the right heel, where “KOBE” has been replaced with “KUZZ.”
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