Originally published in KICKS 11, 2008…

Sneaker Pimp: Believe it or not, LeBron James and I have similar preferences for our on-court footwear: strong and sturdy. Of course, our reasons are different. Bron likes them that way because he’s built like the football star he once was, and you can’t be running with the world’s best athletes in that body unless you have some serious support. I like ’em that way because after years of sprained ankles and footspeed that would best be described as glacial even if I was in the lightest shoes ever, I figure it’s best to feel safe and steady.

Hence, my basketball kicks of choice the last couple years have been the LeBron IVs, heavy hoop shoes by any measure. Number of sprained ankles or lower extremity problems of any kind in that time period: none, which is also the number of times I’ve worn IVs to dinner. I’m getting at something LeBron and his people know all too well: the best basketball shoes aren’t always fly off the court. For this year’s release, the VI, Bron’s team was extremely focused on making a shoe that “works with jeans,” while maintaining a typically high quality product for on court. All indications are that the goal was achieved, and they were confident—and gracious—enough to debut the shoes in KICKS. Hopefully the masses who worship Bron’s game but weren’t always ready to rep him on the street appreciate this new model and the efforts that went into it. Regardless, it wasn’t hard for me to decide who the best person and topic for our cover story was.

There’s plenty of other great stuff inside the mag too. Be sure and peep our features on other players with unique footwear stories like Elton Brand, Monta Ellis, Joakim Noah and Amare Stoudemire, as well as a look at adidas’ ill Remix line and, as you’ve come to expect, hundreds of new kicks.


Ben Osborne