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Kobe and LeBron Debut New Nike Shoes on Christmas Day

Not only is Christmas Day bringing the first matchup of the season between the Heat and Lakers, it’s also delivering a clash of special shoes. Kevin Durant is wearing special shoes for his game against the Nuggets, and of course the two biggest superstars in the league — Kobe Bryant and LeBron James — each have their new Nikes. Kobe’s Christmas shoes are the grinch-colored ones on the left while LeBron’s are the Heat-colored kicks on the right:

The shoes will be available on December 26th — LeBron’s shoes will cost $160 while Kobe’s retail for $130. If you’re lucky enough, you might just receive a pair as a late Christmas present. Here are a few more pics in case you want to see all the details, including the lion on the tongue of LeBron’s, representing his nickname of “The King.”

That lime green color doesn’t do it for me, but then again I’m not the type to spend $130 on some wingtips. I suppose for the crowd dishing out those ducats, the more outrageous the better.

Pics of the shoes courtesy of Dime Magazine.

Athletic Propulsion Labs Concept 1 Shoe Banned by NBA for Jumping Advantage

We’ve all heard about the shoes guaranteed to make you run faster and jump higher. At first, those dream loafers were called P.F. Fliers. Then Seinfeld let us know about Jimmy’s training shoes. Now, the NBA is banning a pair of shoes because they provide wearers an “undue competitive advantage.”

The shoes, called the Athletic Propulsion Labs Concept 1, were banned because: “League rules regulate the footwear that players may wear during an NBA game. Under league rules, players may not wear any shoe during a game ‘that creates an undue competitive advantage (e.g., to increase a player’s vertical leap).’ In light of that rule…players will not be permitted to wear the APL shoes during NBA games.”

The Concept 1s go for $300 a pair and advertise a “Load ‘N Launch device is implanted in a cavity in the forefoot of the shoe and serves as a ‘launch pad’ by taking the energy exerted by the player and increasing lift with the aid of an intricate, spring-based propulsion system.”

Apparently anyone who puts them on will see an average increase in their vertical leap of 3.5 inches. Great, now I might be able to touch the net!

LeBron James Debuts 8 South Beach Shoes, Sports Marlins Hat

LeBron James wasted no time promoting one of his first items that has serious Miami ties. Nike released the LeBron 8 South Beach shoes on Saturday, 10 days ahead of the Heat’s season debut. The shoe’s colors are similar to the Miami Dolphins’ and Florida Marlins’ colors and there’s expected to be another version with the Miami Heat’s colors coming out soon. The number 828 appears on the back: 82 for the number of regular season games, 28 for the maximum amount of playoff games a championship team can play. And, according to Ethan J. Skolnick, there’s also a lion’s head on the shoe to symbolize the power and strength LeBron brings to the court. Here is a pic of LeBron sporting his kicks and speaking at his publicity event on Saturday:

What gets me about LeBron is that he seemed to go out of his way to piss off Cleveland fans in 2007 when he wore a Yankees hat to support NY even though they were playing Cleveland in the ALDS. He’s a member of the Heat for three months and he’s already sporting a Marlins hat? Now that’s a slap in the face to Cleveland fans if I’ve seen one, but that’s no surprise.

Gilbert Collaborates with Benihana on New Hibachi Shoe

Man, even while injured, the dude still makes great headlines. He’s had some shoes with Adidas now for a few years, and they’re starting to expand into the customizations realm. For instance, Gil and Adidas released a special edition Halo version of the Gil II Zeros in honor of the popular video game. While Gil told us to head out to certain shoes stores to pick up the special edition Gil II’s, I couldn’t find em at the LA stores. We might have to fix that problem considering Gil’s latest sneaker — the Hibachis are being released:

Unfortunately for me, only 1,000 are being made, and they’re only available in DC. And if I do say so myself, the kicks sound a lot cooler than they look. Not the best of the limited edition Gil II Zero’s. I think my fave is the one that has the erasable wet/dry board on it. Now that is sick. Thanks to Kicks On Fire for the pic.

Will Kevin Durant’s Nike Deal Keep him from Going Starbury?

If you remember about a month ago, I got really excited when I heard Kevin Durant wanted to go cheap with his shoes like Starbury. In fact, at the time, reports suggested that negotiations were being held up by Durant’s desire to go cheap. Well, Tom Ziller informs me of the news that Durant has signed with Nike. We know it came down to Adidas or Nike, and apparently Durant has chosen Nike.

The deal is reportedly worth $40 million. That’s a lot of money. Now, my question is whether or not this will prevent Durant from marketing his shoe at a cheaper price. I’m guessing it will unfortunately. In the Adidas family, it’s T-Mac, Billups, Arenas, and KG whose shoes vary from $90-$130. In the Nike online store, we’re talking triple-figures for most sneakers. That blows. I was really getting pumped about Durant going Starbury-style — that’s how to give back to the community.

Kevin Durant Wants to go Cheap with His Shoes Like Starbury

Thanks to Ballhype for putting me onto Nate Jones’ story at FanHouse about Texas star Kevin Durant wanting a shoe deal that will market his sneakers for cheap. The news is truly pleasing. Taking it from Jones:

Today on his Oregon Live blog, John Canzano reported that one of the sticking points for Durant in his negotiations with Nike and Adidas is a commitment to make a shoe that is at a price point that most individuals could afford. That price point is rumored to be between $39 and $69.

Whether or not big companies like Nike or Adidas would actually go for something like this is debatable — it would go against most of their business policies. Just perusing the Adidas website for instance, shows that high top basketball shoes range from $80-$200, with most pairs in the hundred dollar range. Going through Nike’s shop online, it was a stretch to find a basketball sneaker in the double-digits price range. The other element at play is whether or not Kevin Durant will remain steadfast in his desire to have a company sell his shoe for cheap. Would his desire to sign with a big company override his wish of selling an affordable shoe? I think it’s possible.

We’ll wait to see what happens with Durant, but I’m happy to hear he’s even considering the idea. The reasonably-priced sneaker is an excellent concept by Marbury, and I’ll always applaud this off-court effort regardless of what his on-court reputation may be.

(image courtesy You Been Blinded)