The Pistons were still the Pistons in 2007. They were only three years removed from an improbable championship run against Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Gary Payton and the Lakers. Big Ben Wallace had left for the Bulls already, but they still had the equally-intimidating Rasheed Wallace. Rip Hamilton was knocking in jumpers, Tayshaun Prince was locking people up and Chauncey Billups was running the whole show. They even added Chris Webber to go along with a mixture of youth and experience coming off the bench.
They finished the 2006-07 regular season with 53 wins, three more than LeBron James and the Cavaliers. James, then 23 years old, had put up 27 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6 assists per game over the course of the season.
For that year’s playoff run, Nike gave LeBron a new pair of sneakers—the Zoom Soldier.
The silhouette had Zoom technology, a strap across the midfoot and another one on the lateral heel. Its lower height was meant to give ‘Bron the speed and quickness advantage he needed for the postseason. It worked.
Before the Cavs got swept by the Spurs in the Finals, James and his navy Zoom Soldiers took care of the Pistons.
In Game 5, with the series tied 2-2, young LeBron exploded for 25 straight points through the fourth quarter and two overtime sessions. He dunked on folks, hit impossible fadeaways, glided through the lane for gorgeous layups. It was a signature playoff moment.
Scroll through the gallery above to see pictures of the Zoom LeBron Soldier 1 and watch the video below for the highlights. He was truly a beast that night.
Max Resetar is an Associate Editor at SLAM. Follow him on Twitter @maxresetar.