Every NBA Star's Best Sneaker

Bryant KnoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2013

Every NBA Star's Best Sneaker

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    It's a fact of life that NBA stars love their styles. Whether on or off the court, players put thought into their attire, and their sneakers are no exception to the rule.

    The league's best endure signature changes throughout their careers, and while it's often the case that newer is better, sometimes an oldie can still be a goody. 

    There are many things to consider when looking at a player's history of shoes. Style is certainly one thing, as color scheme and sleekness are never too important—but what you can't forget is that these are still basketball shoes, and they must be able to function as such.

    We've seen trends come and go throughout the years—and come again, if you're keeping score at home—and while no one player is expected to stand pat, it's safe to say they're doing well for themselves at this point in the process. 

Kevin Durant

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    Kevin Durant may be the nicest guy in the NBA (according to his Foot Locker commercial), but the KD V is certainly one mean shoe—also according to his commercial.

    Durant has completed five full seasons as an NBA player, and he already has more shoes with his name on them than most will have in a lifetime. The KD V is the newest installment, and as you might expect, it's easily his best.

    As fresh as the sneakers in the commercial may be, the colors on his Christmas Day kicks are the ones that earn the top spot on his list. Durant has shown more and more flash as his career has progressed, and this shoe epitomizes that notion with its vivid colors.

    Throwbacks are in like never before, and with an 8-bit pixelized pattern shown 360 degrees around, it's something McFly would certainly be proud of.

Carmelo Anthony

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    If you're a fan of what Carmelo Anthony has done with Nike and the Jordan Brand, you're going to love the M9.

    For the 2013 All-Star Game, Anthony wore the M9's in grand fashion. There was no obligation to stick with the New York Knicks' blue and orange, so black, purple and volt-like accents (and laces) were on full display.

    When it comes to the shoe itself, it has to be the best additions to Melo's line. The M8 did a good job of toning down the bulk when it was released in 2012, but the M9 took that to yet another level.

    According to The Hoop Doctors, Anthony wanted this shoe to be designed after "the armored suit a superhero would wear; form-fitting and sleek."

    Whether that's the ultimate result is up for each individual to decide, but what's easy to tell is that it made for one of his best looks to date.

Chris Paul

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    The NBA went wild when it came to its Christmas Day sneaker lineup, but in a league full of modern throwbacks and neon colors, Chris Paul let a classic style become his best look yet.

    Despite being arguably the best point guard in the league, Paul is often forgotten when it comes to the stars' signature shoes. That's easy to do when you stick to the basics, and so was the case on Dec. 25.

    The white, red and grey shoe with the Jumpman logo was hardly noticeable, but the CP3.VI's fit perfectly with the rest of his attire.

    If there's a more perfect shoe out there for Paul, it'll be hard to find. Osneaker.com describes this one as "designed for the small guard who is quick and agile, making quick cuts and changing direction while giving enough protection to support lateral movements on defense."

Kobe Bryant

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    When it comes to Kobe Bryant's kicks, the big question is, do you prefer high or low?

    As sleek as the guard's low-top sneakers are, basketball shoes just aren't the same if they're not high tops—although it doesn't seem to be slowing him down at this point in his career.

    From an aesthetic standpoint, the Hyperdunks gave an added edge to the Los Angeles Lakers' traditional colors. The black base with the flywire mesh complemented the purple nicely, and even the blend of purple and white on the home edition kept the pair from becoming just another set of white shoes.

    Bryant has always had an edge in his game, so it makes sense that it would translate to his apparel. 

    When it comes to functionality, this shoe was described as the "lightest and strongest basketball shoe ever," by kicksonfire.com. This was back in 2008, of course, but at just 13 ounces, it was "18 percent lighter than the average Nike basketball shoe."

Dwight Howard

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    When you think of signature shoes throughout the NBA, not many big men come to mind.

    Then again, not many big men play with the style and flair of a healthy Dwight Howard.

    Adidas has done a good job of taking a center's shoe and making it appeal to mass audiences. Not many kids grow up wanting to be a low-post player, but with a representative of Howard's skill set and personality, this sneaker should call to just about anybody.

    Compared to the AdiPower Howard 2, the 3 has a much more slender look to it. Whether it be the longer, skinnier logo on the side or the sharper angle from the tongue to the toe, you can tell that this one is more modern, and could ultimately revolutionize the big man's shoe as we move into the future.

    If flashy colors are more your style, you might be more inclined to like Howard's 2013 All-Star Weekend shoe.

    But whichever you choose, the AdiPower Howard 3 is the perfect sneaker for the league's best center.

LeBron James: VI "Taxi Cab"

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    LeBron James' best sneakers just might be ones that he never unveiled in an NBA game.

    In 2009, James made a trip to Madison Square Garden, where he recorded 52 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. On that same day, he released a special edition of the Nike Lebron VI, and it was designed with a theme for the city where it was released—New York City.

    The black-and-yellow color scheme had little to do with the Cleveland Cavaliers uniforms, but that wasn't the motivation for the design. The sneaker was released exclusively in NYC, and the theme was centered around the taxi cabs that flood the city streets.

    James has since moved on to newer, more modern versions of the Nike LeBron shoe, but this one will remain a classic, as it's nearly impossible to find on the open market.

Dwyane Wade

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    When Dwyane Wade left the Nike Jordan Brand for Li Ning, a Chinese-based company, it didn't make much sense in the eyes of the casual fan.

    However, when it was revealed that the move could make Wade the richest athlete of all time (according to Brian Warner of Celebrity Net Worth), it began to seem like a no-brainer.

    Money aside, Wade's new sneakers are easy to critique. They're missing the charisma that often comes from Nike and other major companies, but if all goes according to plan, he'll have much more say in the future designs as a part of his new partnership.

    If you're uncomfortable with the all-black versions of Wade's new kicks, take a look at what he donned at All-Star Weekend. He may be out to create his own road to success, but he's certainly not afraid to give in to what's popular around the league.

    Wade's new look may take some getting used to, as the familiarity of Jordan is comforting to most around the league; but if Wade can truly infuse his own style into his newest adventure, he has the potential to build one of the more unique brands in all of basketball.

Derrick Rose: D Rose 3.5

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    In a day and age where shoes are about flair and creative expression, the D Rose 3.5's are simple, yet bold enough to make a splash on the NBA scene.

    Derrick Rose hasn't seen the court since the 2012 playoffs, and his return to the game has been highly anticipated. The Chicago Bulls have looked good without him, but they'll look even better when he emerges at the United Center with his shiny new 3.5's.

    When it comes to the road version of this shoe, there's no denying that it meets the color scheme of the Chicago Bulls. The red and black are prominently displayed, but the white midsole and sprintframe takes away from the sleekness of the sneaker.

    It doen't get more sleek than the grey-on-white combo of the home shoe, and that's a characteristic that carries right on to the court when it comes to Rose's abilities.

    Aside from the colors, Rose has integrated the phrase, "Rooted in Chicago," onto the tongue (according to dimemag.com).

    Whether Rose is rocking the home or away version when he makes his return, he'll be showing off one of the freshest looks in the league.