Although Gilbert Arenas and Steve Nash were among players to play in low-top shoes, Kobe Bryant spearheaded a revolution in 2009 with the release of the Nike Zoom Kobe IV. Bryant’s input in the design of the model led to the creation of a shoe that afforded him flexibility.
Just as important to the Los Angeles Lakers legend was that it didn’t come at the sacrifice of support or stability. The Zoom Kobe IV went on to become one of Nike’s most heralded basketball shoes, as players across the league tabbed them as their footwear of choice.
As Bryant’s signature line later shifted away from the low-top construction before returning to it, Paul George has seemingly carried the torch in that design aspect. The silhouettes of George’s Nike PG1, PG2 and PG 2.5 elicited memories of Bryant and Nike changing perceptions.
That’s been carried over into the PG3, which was recently unveiled in an orange and blue colorway that doesn’t draw from Oklahoma City Thunder jerseys but rather the NASA research center in George’s hometown of Palmdale, Calif.
In an interview with Master Tesfatsion of Bleacher Report, George explained he deliberately drew inspiration from Bryant’s signature line because of his belief the two have similar followings:
“I relate it to someone I looked up to in Kobe. People liked the Kobe’s because of how light they were, how great of a shoe they were from a performance standpoint and how low to the ground they felt. I feel I have that same level of followers that Kobe had when his line was at its height of his sneaker career. Guys relate to my shoes being comfortable, good grip and just a really good shoe on the court. I think there’s an expectation I have with consumers about my shoes.”
In addition to having similar appearances, George’s signature shoes have been adopted by several players much like Bryant’s were when his line was at its peak.
Nike Basketball footwear designer Tony Hardman crafted the PG3 under a direction from George to strip away any excess material and components. As such, the PG3 is almost one ounce lighter than the last model George wore, the PG 2.5
Although NBA players have adopted George’s shoe, where it falls short in comparison to Bryant’s is resonating with consumers.
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