NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings: Kyrie Irving, Paul George closing in on undisputed shoe champ P.J. Tucker
The race to be NBA Sneaker King heats up as players keep using custom sneakers to bolster their reputation
NBA players continue to take their shoe games to a completely unprecedented level this season, giving fans something to look forward to on a nightly basis. They've also surpassed expectations by working with sneaker customizers to showcase their unique personalities while on the hardwood. Tune in to a random NBA game and do some shoe watching and odds are you'll see some kicks featuring super heroes, characters from a hit '90s TV show, sports legends and cultural icons.
Last week, thedisplayed just how intense the competition is for the top spot in the league's shoe game. On this week's edition, you'll catch a glimpse of the players that kept their creativity at a maximum and kept you on your toes with what they're rocking next.
15. Jayson Tatum (Last Week: NR)
Jayson Tatum kicks off this fresh batch of NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings. The Celtics' second-year forward always shows love to teammate and Duke alum Kyrie Irving by rocking some of the best products from the Nike Kyrie line. His top on-court kicks recently have featured the Nike Kyrie 4 "The Academy," shoes that were limited to Nike Academy invitees only. What puts Tatum over the top is that Nike designated him, along with several other up-and-coming NBA studs, to be the firsts to wear the state-of-the-art Nike Adapt BB, the first self-lacing shoe to see the NBA hardwood.
14. Derrick Jones Jr. (Last week: NR)
The Heat's Derrick Jones Jr. is more than just a high-flying dunk machine. He's also a legit contender in the NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings. Jones, along with a number of players in Miami, is making a ton of heads turn with his on-court sneaker selection. It's not easy to pull off the Jordan 20 due to its bizarre ankle strap, but Jones Jr. was not fazed and hit the court with the kicks recently. Another highlight came when he pulled out a pair of custom Jordan 10s decorated after two popular children's TV shows.
13. Russell Westbrook (Last week: 11)
There are some things in life you can always rely on: Russell Westbrook averaging a triple-double and him having a consistent presence in these rankings. The Thunder star is still thriving in the hype after the release of his latest signature shoe, the Jordan Why Not Zero.2. Westbrook has displayed four colorways of the Why Not Zero.2 so far -- with one of the best looks coming in the "Equality" colorway that he wore on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
12. Kyle Kuzma (Last week: 15)
Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma rises in this week's rankings. Like Tatum, Kuzma was pegged to help introduce the Nike Adapt BB to the NBA and he's been rocking it consistently on the court ever since. Last week you learned that Kuzma is on a one-of-its-kind deal with sneaker-resale platform GOAT that equips him with rare sneakers to hoop in on the daily. Some of his highlights recently have come in the shape of the Nike Kobe 1 Protro "81PT Game" and the Nike Kobe 4 "Fade to Black."
11. Allonzo Trier (Last week: 8)
Rookie Allonzo Trier continues to be one of the few bright spots for the lowly Knicks this season. Trier has provided a consistent scoring punch in New York while also establishing himself as a force in the sneaker community. His highlights lately include rocking the Nike Kobe 7 "Invisibility Cloak" during the Knicks' Martin Luther King Jr. Day matchup against the Thunder. Trier kept the exclusive run going when he pulled out the Nike Kobe 5 "Big Stage" against the Rockets at Madison Square Garden. Big stage indeed.
10. Spencer Dinwiddie (Last week: NR)
Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie makes his first appearance on this list in a very unique way. Dinwiddie isn't signed on to a major brand. Instead, the veteran out of the University of Colorado produces his own shoes in a collaboration with an organization called Project Dream. Dinwiddie truly takes it upon himself to remain creative with his shoes on a nightly basis and he always seems to pull through; he's had custom designs that pay homage to most road cities he plays while also paying homage to a number of cultural figures. Dinwiddie's run in the rankings might be short-lived but not because his shoe game is lacking. An could reportedly lead to surgery and possibly sideline him 4-to-6 weeks. His shoe game is one to be reckoned with, but words simply don't do it justice so see for yourself below.
9. Langston Galloway (Last week: NR)
Pistons guard Langston Galloway is another newcomer on the NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings, but his creativity and consistency will likely make him a mainstay as the season continues. Galloway is one of only three NBA players on a sneaker deal with Q4 Sports, a new shoe company that allows him to remain creative with the design of the kicks he wears on the court. Galloway is a huge sneakerhead with a massive collection and he's been consistently rocking custom heat on the court. The only negative here is that by the looks of it, Galloway is one of many Saints fans dealing with the emotional fallout from the team's controversial loss in the NFC title game. Sorry, Langston, but at least you know your insane run of impressive footwear landed you on this uber-exclusive list.
8. De'Aaron Fox (Last week: 4)
Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox returns from last week's power rankings, though he takes a slight drop. Fox continues to put his Nike Kobe line collection on display as the season rolls on, which always makes him a must-follow for sneakerheads. The second-year player is also one of the few athletes to put the brand new Nike Adapt BB to work on the court. Let's just say Nike doesn't go around lacing up scrubs with their newest and hottest products.
7. Paul George (Last week: 9)
Thunder wingman Paul George continues to have a career-best season on the court while also maintaining one of the better Nike signature lines in the league. George debuted the Nike PG 3 earlier this season, which landed him in last week's Power Rankings, and kept the momentum of the Nike PG 2.5 going. Though he shuffles between the kicks in his line, George brought out the Nike PG 3 "Black History Month" during Oklahoma City's win over the Knicks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the colorway was an instant hit.
6. DeMar DeRozan (Last week: 10)
Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan is one of the most consistent players in the league, and the same can be said about his shoe game. DeRozan shows off his elite Nike Kobe collection on a nightly basis and his kicks are always something to keep an eye on. His steadiness will undoubtedly make him a legit contender for the NBA Sneaker King as these rankings continue to unfold. See below for some of his best on-court kicks in the last week.
5. Lance Stephenson (Last Week: 3)
Lakers reserve Lance Stephenson is back in the thick of it in this week's rankings. Stephenson's on-court kicks recently have been amazing and he's really showing a ton of variety. The competition at the top will always be stiff, but Stephenson is a guarantee to be in the mix. Stephenson shuffled through the Jordan 3 "Do The Right Thing," the Jordan 9 "Bentley Ellis," and the Jordan 11 Pantone -- all super rare shoes -- like it was nothing over the past couple of games.
4. Kyrie Irving (Last week: 5)
Celtics star Kyrie Irving returns to this week's rankings with a slight bump up. Irving moves up in the rankings simply because the Nike Kyrie 5 "Black History Month" is such a clean colorway. Irving has not seemed to skip a beat with the Nike Kyrie 5 and every time he debuts a new colorway it takes the sneaker community by storm. If the creativity between Irving and Nike keeps flowing, it's going to be tough to knock him down the list.
3. Taurean Prince (Last week: 6)
Hawks forward Taurean Prince has been digging deep into his bag lately and blessing us with some gems from his sneaker collection. The consistent run of exclusive kicks propels him up this week's edition of the Power Rankings. Prince pulled out the Nike LeBron 6 "All-Star Game" and followed it up with the Nike Kobe 11 "Easter" later in the week. Prince keeps the momentum going with a custom pair of Nike Kobe ADs that match perfectly with the Hawks uniforms. If Prince keeps bringing this sort of arsenal to the court, he's in line to unseat the player in the No. 2 spot of the rankings.
2. Montrezl Harrell (Last Week: 2)
Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell is back at it again. Last week, we put you on to the fact that he has one of the biggest sneaker collections in the league, we told you his diversity and creativity was off the charts, we told you this is where it gets real. Well, for Harrell and his on-court sneaker selection, it remains real. Among the heat he's been spotted wearing is the Nike Kobe 6 "Supreme Chaos," and the Jordan 7 "Bordeaux" low. Those kicks are all exclusive and highly sought after, but everyone on this list brings that sort of stuff to the table. What separates Harrell? He rocked a custom pair of Jordan 10s to pay homage to
tennis sports legend Serena Williams. Scroll down and catch a glimpse.
1. P.J. Tucker (Last week: 1)
Oh man, not again. He's going back-to-back. It's really not fair when Houston guard P.J. Tucker is on top of his shoe game like this. Tucker continues to defy the odds and rock the rarest, most exclusive sneakers on a regular basis. During his latest run of head-turning kicks, Tucker reached into his bag and pulled out a pair of Nike Air Pippen 1s that were NEVER released. For anyone else those shoes would put them over the top in these rankings. For Tucker it went relatively unnoticed because he does this on the regular. Another highlight (literally) came when he rocked a sample Nike LeBron 3 that glows in the dark. He kept his run going by wearing the Jordan 4 "Florida Gators" PE, shoes that were only distributed to University of Florida athletes. Tucker, a former University of Texas ball player, somehow managed to keep that momentum going by wearing the Jordan 4 "Oklahoma Sooners" PE a couple of nights later. Watching Tucker at the peak of his shoe game must be what it was like to see Wilt Chamberlain score 50-plus points every game -- it's unreal and there's no end in sight.
Just Missed The Cut
These are the players that are on the brink of making the jump in the Sneaker King Power Rankings: Celtics forward Marcus Morris, Nets guard D'Angelo Russell, Clippers forward Tobias Harris, Heat big man Bam Adebayo, Nuggets forward Trey Lyles, Jazz swingman Thabo Sefolosha and Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein.
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