This week was all about the big-time flex. Some of the NBA's biggest sneakerheads decided it was time to go deep into their collections for some vintage retros, while others made a couple calls to get some fresh player exclusive kicks shipped out. Moral of the story is you're about to see a lot of sneakers you haven't seen in a while and some you've just never seen before:
Before we hit the NBA kicks, special shoutout to UConn phenom Paige Bueckers, who is simply a walking bucket. The freshman is destined for big things on the court, and she'll do it all with some heat laced up on her feet. We know UConn is a player exclusive factory and Bueckers is already showing that off with this Nike Kyrie 7 PE.
Nike Basketball's Latest
Nike Basketball is launching three new models in 2021 under its Greater Than Series. First in line is the Air Zoom G.T. Cut, a sneaker specially made for cutting and change of direction. Next is the Air Zoom G.T. Run, for energy return and running economy. The last of the bunch is the Air Zoom G.T. Jump, for vertical jumping and impact protection. With the Air Zoom G.T. set to hit the market first (late April). The Air Zoom G.T. Run will release in summer 2021, the Air Zoom G.T. Jump will release later in 2021. It's only a matter of time before you see one of Nike's athletes on the court with a pair.
Now, onto our latest Sneaker King Power Rankings.
10. Langston Galloway
If you hadn't noticed until now, Langston Galloway has been putting on a show with his kicks all season for the Phoenix Suns. Galloway is one of the NBA's biggest sneaker collectors and he's been showing off just how extensive that collection is. This week he makes the cut after breaking out the Nike Cradle Rock, a sneaker most famously worn by Suns legend Steve Nash while he was at the peak of his NBA career. It's always fun seeing how the league's top sneakerheads pay homage and tell stories with the kicks they lace up.
9. Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard's sneaker game has been as consistent this season as anyone in the association. Leonard has a constant rotation of colorways and player exclusives to choose from in his New Balance KAWHI signature line. Expect to see a variety of new flavors from New Balance as Leonard and the Clippers get closer to the playoffs.
8. Gordon Hayward
We're going to keep hyping up Gordon Hayward and his signature Anta GH2 kicks so long as they keep pumping out incredibly clean colorways all season long. The design on the GH2 is rather minimal upon first look, but there's so many thoughtful details sprinkled across the shoe that you can't help but admire them. Not only does the design pop, but it lends itself to a wide variety of colorways, which makes it easier for Hayward and Anta to stay in the Sneaker King Power Rankings mix.
7. Kyle Kuzma
Kyle Kuzma and the Puma Basketball team introduced the PUMA Clyde All-Pro Kuzma in a low-top silhouette this week. The sneakers (bottom left) are the second collaboration between the Lakers forward and fashion designer Rhuigi after their first shoe debuted last year. The kicks are tailormade to perform on the basketball court and stand out in a casual setting, so it's safe to say you'll be seeing a lot more of them from Puma and Kuzma this season.
6. Jayson Tatum
The Jordan Brand shipments of new product must've hit for the Jordan roster of athletes this week because every single one of them was showing off heat. Jayson Tatum got in on the spoils and didn't wait too long to lace up a couple of different Jordan 35 PEs this week. The kicks are unreal and if this is the type of footwear we're going to expect from Jordan Brand the rest of the year, this list is going to be packed with their athletes!
5. Darius Garland
Second-year player Darius Garland looks like he's starting to figure things out on the court. He's averaging career highs across the board and looks like a foundational piece for Cleveland moving forward. Now something he didn't need to work on to improve is his sneaker game and he's continued to show that off this season. Garland loves to make frequent use of the Nike Kyrie line and he's certainly warming up to the Kyrie 7. Check out his best kicks of the week right below.
4. Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell has not been shy with the colorways he's been lacing up lately. Adidas is making sure that Mitchell has all the flavors he wants of his signature D.O.N. Issue 2 kicks ready to go for every game. The wild colorways are always fun to keep track of, especially when thinking back to just a few years ago when the NBA still had strict guidelines that would prohibit athletes from wearing colors outside of their team uniform schemes. Mitchell's biggest highlight this week is probably the most subtle pair of kicks he wore with the D.O.N. Issue 2 Louisville PE. Check them out below.
3. P.J. Tucker
It was a weird time in the NBA sneaker scene during P.J. Tucker's last days in Houston. The reigning NBA Sneaker King wasn't suiting up for games so we weren't getting the usual influx of insane kicks that we're used to seeing from him. Now Tucker is in Milwaukee and his sneaker collection is slowly getting shipped up north. A new team means a new color scheme and that's the type of challenge Tucker lives for. Stay tuned because you haven't seen the best kicks from our guy in Milwaukee just yet.
2. Bradley Beal
There's no reason Bradley Beal shouldn't be in the Sneaker King Power Rankings mix every week. He's a Jordan Brand athlete, who, at the snap of his fingers, could have an unreal pair of kicks waiting for him in his locker. Well, Beal might've snapped his fingers this week to make this Jordan 35 PE he broke out happen. The kicks pay direct homage to the classic Jordan 5 'Fire Red' retro, a classic silhouette and colorway. After seeing the Jordan 35 as a mashup with the Jordan 5, you'll have a hard time convincing me this isn't how this shoe should look like from now on.
1. Montrezl Harrell
Given P.J. Tucker's hiatus before leaving Houston and the competitive nature of the league's sneaker scene, if the season ended today you could make a solid case for Montrezl Harrell to take home the Sneaker King crown. He's been as consistent as they come this year, showing off classic Reebok colorways every chance he gets. Strictly focusing on what's on his feet, you would think we were chronicling the sneaker choices of a 1990s big man. This week his highlights include the Reebok Shaqnosis (top right), Shaquille O'Neal's signature shoe during his early NBA years, and the Reebok Question (bottom right), Allen Iverson's first signature shoe with the brand. As far as who's in the driver's seat as the NBA's Sneaker King this year? There's no question Harrell has a claim for the top spot.