Kobe Bryant has always been a storyteller. From the Prelude Pack to the Fade to Black Pack, Nike now introduces the Zoom Kobe 1 Protro.
What does the word "Protro" mean? Protro brings together performance at the professional level and retro. Bryant coined the term himself. The Protro Kobe 1 "is all about improving on what's been and making it better for what's to come," Bryant tells Bleacher Report Kicks.
The Nike Zoom Kobe 1 is the shoe Bryant wore while donning both No. 8 and No. 24 during his career. Bryant tells B/R Kicks, "Wearing both numbers in the Kobe 1 signifies constant evolution. You can look at the evolution of my number, the evolution of my game, the evolution of my mentality and now the evolution of my original Nike line."
That evolution took over three years to get Bryant's approval to retro his shoe. "To just put the Kobe 1 out was not an option for him," Nike Basketball footwear product director Tony Grosso tells B/R Kicks. "He would not budge on that." Kobe wanted his shoe to be "built for the professional athlete in 2018," according to Grosso.
The Kobe 1 Protro finally became a reality as the team focused on reducing weight and eliminating materials from the original Kobe 1, incorporating a smaller carbon fiber shank for an improved fit. Full-length Zoom Air cushioning is also among the advancements in technology found in the Kobe 1 Protro.
"It feels great to see the Kobe 1 back on the court, especially knowing it's redesigned to meet the performance standards of today's game," Bryant says, but he also wants to make it clear: "This isn't a retro shoe, it's about building on what's come before and making it better."
The shoe has proved it can stand up to the rigors of today's NBA. Toronto Raptors All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan played in the Zoom Kobe 1 Protro against the Spurs on January 19. He finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists in a win. DeRozan will play in the Protro again Thursday as the Raptors host the New York Knicks.
The Nike Zoom Kobe I Protro releases February 17 on Nike.com and at select Nike retailers.