Sickest Sneakers of the NBA Playoffs
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
The NBA as a whole has gone a bit fashion crazy recently, and not in a good way. But I'm happy to report that for every bad jacket or pair of lensless glasses, there's a sick pair of sneakers to make up for it.
The 2012-13 regular season wasn't a particularly good year for sneakers, but the playoffs most definitely have been. There were more than a few new retros, playoff editions and custom pairs released before the postseason, so we've been treated to an excellent mix of new sneakers with a few classics thrown in to even everything out.
Which shoe reigns supreme?
Honorable Mention: Jeff Green, Nike Air Max Hyperaggressor
These aren't any kind of signature or playoff edition sneakers, they're just the regular, old Air Max Hyperaggressors.
However, that doesn't stop them from making the cut on this list, especially since they look so fantastic in the Boston Celtics' green and white. The handwritten “#BostonStrong”—paying tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings—only makes things better.
No. 12: Roy Hibbert, Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2012
You can count on one hand the number of players who have had a better postseason than Roy Hibbert, who's eating ball-handlers alive at the rim and overpowering smaller defenders at the other end of the court.
And while his shoes probably aren't the real reason for that, we can still pretend, right?
Hibbert's spent a lot of time in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2012, which is a pretty simple but outstanding sneaker—especially in the Indiana Pacers' navy blue and gold colors. Probably the coolest thing about Hibbert's Hyperfuses is what he writes on them, though.
Hibbert writes messages to himself on the toe box of his sneakers, stuff like “New Beginnings” and “Destroy Every1”—the message you can see part of in this picture—according to Pacers Blogs' Mark Montieth.
Considering that he's averaging 23 points and 12 rebounds per game against the Miami Heat, it seems to be working.
No. 11: Steve Nash, Nike Kobe 8 "Gradient"
We sadly didn't get to see Kobe Bryant in the 2013 postseason, but thanks to Steve Nash, we got to see his sneakers. And for now, that's just going to have to be good enough.
Honestly, it's a little shocking how good the Kobe 8 “Gradient” looks in almost all purple. There's so many different shades on the sneaker that it almost seems like there are more colors—particularly in the middle, where the dark purple melts into a lighter shade.
The Kobe 8s are a really sick shoe in general, and this colorway is one of the best of them. So thanks, Steve.
No. 10: Marc Gasol, Nike Lunar Hyperdunk 2012
Photo courtesy of basket4us.com
When you think of cool sneakers, the first person who pops into your head probably isn't Marc Gasol. But he was rocking a pretty sick pair in his edition of the 2012 Nike Lunar Hyperdunk.
There's nothing too fancy about these—they're certainly not as flashy as some of the other sneakers on this list. But the colors are solid, the gold on the side looks great and the simple “Marc” across the tongue is a nice touch.
It's the perfect shoe for a guy whose greatest skills are outstanding defense, facilitating from the high post and a sweeping hook shot that always seems to find the bottom of the net.
No. 9: Rip Hamilton, Air Jordan 5 "Grape"
Purple, white and emerald green are a recipe for a terrible shoe 99 times out of 100. The “Grape” Air Jordan 5s are that one exception.
The original “Grape” came out in 1990, but a retro was recently released via nicekicks.com, and it looks spectacular. Obviously the shoe is mostly white leather, but the splashes of purple and green on the midsole, tongue and binding are what really make it.
So everyone, be sure to thank Rip Hamilton for breaking out this gem in the postseason. Bonus points if you can figure out exactly which pair from his collection he wore.
No. 8: J.R. Smith, Air Jordan IV "White Cement"
J.R. Smith's usually a fan of flashier, more colorful shoes, but the Air Jordan IV “White Cement” sneakers have been by far his best look in the playoffs.
Retro shoes certainly aren't always cool (you won't see anyone trotting out the old Adidas “Kobe 2” anytime soon), but the simple white color highlighted by the “cement” trim on these sneakers certainly is. Smith had a truly awful postseason, but at least he looked pretty good while he was shooting 33 percent.
No. 7: D. J. Augustin, Air Jordan 4 “Thunder”
D.J. Augustin was the only player all year to sport the Air Jordan “Thunder” 4s, per nicekicks.com, which is a head-scratcher considering what a great pair of shoes they are.
Some black and yellow shoes are a little much and just end up looking like a giant bumblebee, but this pair of Jordans is an exception. When Augustin's rocking shoes this great, it almost makes it a shame that he's only on the court for 17 minutes per game.
No. 6: Kevin Durant, Nike KD V Elite Playoff Edition
Photo courtesy of sneakernews.com
It's worth mentioning that some of the KD V Elite's colorways are less than impressive, but at their best, the Elites are easily one of the sickest shoes we've in this year's playoffs.
This particular colorway (which Kevin Durant wore against the Memphis Grizzlies) is a good example. The flecks of white in the binding doesn't come off looking like glitter (a major problem in some shoes), and the black and silver in the middle look particularly sleek.
It's a shame that we don't see some of the better colorways more (just look and see how amazing this is), but even so, the KD Elites are pretty great.
No. 5: Dwyane Wade, Li-Ning "Way of Wade" Encore
More than a few people thought Dwyane Wade made a mistake when he chose to sign with Chinese shoe company Li-Ning over more established producers. It might be time for everyone to admit they were wrong.
Wade's new “Way of Wade" Encore sneakers look fantastic. The red and black shoelaces, the camouflage print on the sole, the mesh-like vents...this is how shoes should be made. Evan Turner's the only other well-known NBA player currently signed with Li-Ning, but if it keeps making shoes like this, then that will change fast.
The original “Way of Wades” were a step in the right direction, but the Encores blow them out of the water. Great stuff.
No. 4: Jeff Teague, Adidas adiZero Crazy Light Low
I'll be honest—I'm crazy about the Adidas adiZero Crazy Lights (no pun intended, I promise).
The basketball community as a whole is starting to embrace low tops (as you can see from a few of the previous shoes), but even if they're not your thing, you have to admit they look great on the adiZeros.
There are only hints of color on this pair of the adiZeros, but that, along with the diagonal stripes and the webbing pattern, are what give it such a sleek look.
No. 3: Stephen Curry, Nike Hyperfuse 2012
Stephen Curry's sneakers (his personal edition of the Nike Hyperfuse 2012s) not only look excellent—they're pretty important to his health, too.
Curry's had ankle problems for a while now, but he's been healthy this year thanks in part to his sneakers. A lightweight model like the Hyperfuse helps Curry to comfortably play in his custom ankle brace, per kicksonfire.com, and protects his ankles.
Aesthetically, the yellow and blue are great together, and the “SC30” across the side is particularly cool.
The handwritten “I can do all things...” (part of a verse from Philippians 4:13) only serves to make the shoe sicker. Especially since it really does seem like Curry can do anything when he's at his best.
No. 2: Carmelo Anthony, Melo M9 Playoff Edition
This playoff edition of the Jordan Brand Melo M9 might just be Carmelo Anthony's best-looking shoe yet.
The home colorway is the best from the two pairs of the playoff edition M9s (home and away), as the iconic orange and blue New York Knicks colors look absolutely awesome with the white middle. It also makes the orange weave—which is designed for better fit and conveniently looks like a giant “M”—stand out like it should.
The Knicks fizzled out in the playoffs, but this edition of the M9 was a highlight in a pretty spectacular season from Anthony.
No. 1: Iman Shumpert, Whatever These Are
No. 1: Gerald Green, Reebok Shaq Attaq Retros
That's right. The Shaq Attaqs.
Why no one else has worn the Shaq Attaqs is a bit of a mystery. The blue, white and black look perfect together, and the black slash running through the shoe's body is stunning. Plus, they're pump shoes. Everyone loves pump shoes.
Whatever the reason, they worked for Green. That's for sure.