The other night the struggling Cavs took on the Bucks in a highly anticipated game between two of the biggest stars in basketball, LeBron and Giannis. Cleveland pulled out a 124-119 win, with a 20-point contribution from sharp-shooter J.R. Smith, who had struggled in the early parts of the season. However, the postgame chatter was not around J.R.’s play, but the shoes he was wearing, which helped him to 5-7 shooting behind the arc. Smith was sporting the Nike LeBron 15 “Pride of Ohio” shoes. Seeing how Smith played in those kicks, the question arises if other NBA players have benefitted from wearing the King’s shoes.
On November 29, 2009,the high-flying Nate Robinson was seen wearing a pair of Zoom LeBron IV Birthday limited edition sneakers as his Knicks battled the Orlando Magic. Robinson finished with a team-high 24 points on 65 percent shooting and 40 percent from deep in just 26 minutes of play. Perhaps this is also what sparked Nate Robinson to win back-to-back Slam Dunk Contests in 2009 and 2010.
During the 2014 season, big man and rim protector DeAndre Jordan was often seen rocking the Nike Zoom Soldier VII. During that season DeAndre averaged 15 rebounds per game, which is his career high, and also had his second best shooting percentage of his career at 71 percent.
Possibly one of the biggest impacts LeBron’s shoes have had on a player was during the 2012-2013 NBA season on the feet of George Hill. The Indiana point guard was spotted repping LeBron’s Freegums Soldier 9’s. Over the course of that season the veteran point-guard put up great numbers, with career highs in minutes played (2,619), points (1,076), 3-pointers made (130), assists (355) and blocks (26).
On February 8, 2012 LeBron’s shoes were being worn against him as three-point specialist J.J. Redick laced up the Nike Soldier V’s in a Magic vs. Heat matchup. Redick tallied 11 points. and four assists off the bench as the rivalry for best NBA team in Florida went to the Magic that night in a 102-89 victory.
It may seem strange to LeBron seeing his competitors wearing his shoes, but hey, if they hold some magic power like MJ’s secret stuff from Space Jam or the high tops Calvin Cambridge found in Like Mike, these other players might be onto something.