When it comes to kicks, there’s nothing more important on the athletic side of the spectrum than the signature shoe, especially when you’re talking basketball. You know a player has truly arrived when he gets a signature sneaker, and with all the top-tier athletes in the NBA that have their own lines they’re practically begging to be ranked.
So that’s what we’ve done for you here. We sifted through all the NBA players with their own signature shoes (there’s a lot more than you might think) and listed them from #10 to #1. Without further ado, we’ll jump into the list. Here’s #10:
10. Damian Lillard
Portland’s excellent point guard starts the list off with his “D Lillard” signature line. Even though he’s just one shoe deep, his first kicks were well received, and although a release date for the D Lillard 2’s hasn’t been officially announced yet, there’s a good chance Adidas has another clean signature model ready to go. As Damian Lillard‘s star continues to rise, his signature sneaker line should rise along with it.
9. Chris Paul
Can you believe that Chris Paul is already on his ninth signature shoe with Jordan Brand? The all-world point guard’s signature line tends to fly under the radar and doesn’t arrive with as much fanfare as some of the other names on the list, but the shoes have always been excellent from a performance standpoint and with the release of the “Vachetta Tan” and “Friends And Family” (only 33 pairs of those!) models this year, they just might start becoming more collectable too.
8. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony is almost twelve models deep with Jordan Brand (although there’s no “official” images yet, he’s been spotted wear-testing the Melo M12’s), and his signature line has been somewhat like his career: high-powered, but somewhat underwhelming at the same time…the Melo 1.5 was a classic, but apart from that there’s not too many bangers in his signature lineup. His shoes have always been excellent performance-wise however (the lightweight cushioning on the M11’s is out of this world), and making it into double-digits for signature models is an impressive accomplishment.
7. Dwayne Wade
Nobody on this list has hopped around from company to company more than Dwayne Wade. From his start with Converse to his somewhat short-lived stint with Jordan Brand, to his current position as the go-to guy for Li-Ning, Wade has seemingly rocked every brand on the market at some point in his career. He’s currently on his fourth signature sneaker with Li-Ning, and although they’re a company that might not have the same name recognition as some of the giants on this list, they’ve laced D-Wade with several high-quality, dope kicks…and even a few special editions here and there.
6. Derrick Rose
Six signature models deep, Derrick Rose is the oft-injured face of Adidas Basketball. Although he has issues staying healthy, Adidas has no issues lacing his shoes with their latest and greatest technology (currently Boost foam). Would Rose be higher on this list if he didn’t get hurt so much? There’s a good chance he would.
5. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving is Nike’s rising star. The Kyrie 1 was a giant hit last year due to its affordable price (a big plus when you’re selling to kids) and high-fashion inspired design, and time will tell if Nike and Kyrie Irving have another hit on their hands this season with the Kyrie 2.
4. Stephen Curry
Be honest with yourself: did you ever really think that Under Armour would have any sort of impact in the basketball market at all? Their basketball line looked as if it would flounder in relative obscurity forever until Stephen Curry came along. The Curry 1 was arguably the most popular signature shoe of last season, and a MVP award and championship ring for Steph gives the Curry 2 huge momentum rolling into this year. With Steph’s popularity at an all-time high, and Under Armour steadily getting better on their basketball shoe design and execution, this seems to be a match made in heaven.
3. Kevin Durant
We’re down to the final 3, and kicking it off is none other than the Slim Reaper himself, Mr. Kevin Durant. Although his last two signature shoes (the KD7 and KD8) haven’t generated the buzz his first six signature models did, he’s sold an overwhelming amount of shoes, had several memorable models like the “Weatherman” KD4’s and the “What The” KD 6’s…and KD collectors are some of the most die-hard collectors you’ll find anywhere.
2. Kobe Bryant
The Black Mamba beat out the Slim Reaper by the narrowest of margins to claim the #2 spot on the list…and he deserves it. Kobe Bryant is ten signature models deep with Nike after starting with Adidas and a short free agency period, and his shoes are innovative to a level that few others on this list can match. From being the first Nike athlete to demand his signature shoes be low-tops (look at what he’s started) to constant innovation (first Nike Basketball athlete with a Flyknit signature shoe), to classic releases (you’ve gotta love the Prelude pack), Kobe is at the peak of Nike Basketball. There’s only one man above him, and that’s….
1. LeBron James
Was there really ever any doubt who would take #1? LeBron James is the undisputed signature sneaker king (pun intended) of the NBA. All the way back to his first model (the Zoom Generation in 2003), LeBron’s shoes have flown off the shelves, and inspired countless trends in signature footwear. Everything from the Zoom Generation to the Lebron 10 is an undisputed classic both performance and style wise, and shoes like the “Big Bang” 9’s and “What The MVP” 10’s are partially responsible for the outrageous amount of hype that surrounds sneaker collecting today. No NBA player in the 00’s and 10’s has had more impact on signature sneakers than King James, and that’s why the #1 spot can’t go to anyone else.
So there you have it. The top 10 signature basketball sneaker lines in the world today. What’s your favorite? Are you an avid collector of one model? Do you have a favorite shoe from one of these lines? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter, and be sure to follow our Instagram for all the dope sneaker pictures that you can handle!
Editor’s Note: Honorable Mentions go to Jamal Crawford and John Wall, both of whom barely missed making the cut for this list.