Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant made an impact on future stars like DeMar DeRozan not just with the countless unforgettable moments he had on the court, but the iconic shoes he created off of it as well.
But several of those shoes came out before many fans of the game today were old enough to appreciate them. Which is why Nike is released the Zoom Kobe 1 as the Kobe Protro, remaking the classic sneaker with modern performance technology used today.
That unfamiliarity today with some of Bryant’s coolest shoes is also why DeRozan, who grew up in Southern California idolizing the Lakers All-Star, was thrilled for the chance to take the lead in wearing the shoes on the court to model the rerelease, via Nick DePaula of ESPN:
“I thought it was about time,” DeRozan said. “I was always wondering what it’d take for them to start retroing. So many dope early-on Kobes haven’t been re-released. I think it was the perfect time for them to be able to come back out, for a new generation to be able to adapt, and for the older crowd that understands, to get them, too.”
The Zoom Kobe 1 was an incredible shoe that was ahead of its time, and Nike bringing back an upgraded version is a blessing for diehard sneakerheads everywhere.
It’s also fitting that DeRozan is the player to attempt to revive Bryant’s shoe legacy, given how obviously he modeled his midrange-centric bag of tricks after his idol’s game.
With several of Bryant’s signature shoes set for rerelease in the future, it will be interesting to see if DeRozan continues to take the lead as their on-court muse, or if Nike spreads them out throughout it’s stable of stars to build Bryant into the most impactful signature shoe creator since Michael Jordan.
One candidate would be Isaiah Thomas, who like DeRozan, grew up idolizing Bryant and still wears several models from his Nike signature shoe line.