One of the most popular things to talk about these days in the NBA world is shoes. Players make massive money from their shoe endorsement deals and most players these days sign their first shoe contract before their first NBA contract.
Legends like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant continue to remain massive figures in the shoe industry with players around the league wearing their sneakers. Jordan got so big that his own Jordan Brand shoes became it’s own subset of Nike, but with the new generation of players, the popularity might be dwindling some.
Adidas has officially passed Jordan as the second-most popular sneaker company in the world. Additionally, according to Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype, more players in the NBA are wearing Kobe Bryant shoes than Jordan shoes:
“According to a report from Versus Reviews, Jordan has also fallen in another key measure of understanding shoe popularity. Their research indicates more NBA players are wearing Kobe Bryant sneakers than Michael Jordan.
In fact, 58 players in the league are wearing Kobe’s while 50 rock shoes from Jordan. This is a major change of pace for the industry.”
Kalbrosky also adds that the Nike Kobe A.D.’s are the most popular individual shoes amongst players:
“Nike Kobe AD’s are the most popular choice for players, with 33 individuals wearing them. Only one shoe from the Jordan brand (Air Jordan XXI) finished in the top 10, as 13 players chose to wear those shoes.”
All-Stars such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMar DeRozan have been longtime wearers of Kobe shoes and their rise in popularity makes sense. Players of the new generation likely grew up watching and idolizing Kobe more than Jordan which undoubtedly leads to many players wanting to wear those shoes.
Overall, shoes in general have become a huge part of mainstream. Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball made huge headlines when he chose to stay independent with Big Baller Brand as opposed to signing with Nike, Jordan, or Adidas.
Nonetheless, Kobe Bryant is now beginning to look like the new standard bearer for shoes and with his international popularity, he could very well become the next Jordan in that lane.