The NBA Sneaker King crown is certainly up for grabs this season with reigning champ P.J. Tucker having spent a lot of time off the court in 2020-21, so the battle for the top spot is as competitive as ever. What you're going to see a lot of here is non-stop heat coming from every major brand in the basketball world as each of them make a push to help their athletes stand out with what they have on their feet. You don't have to be one of the established names to stand out, and you'll see a lot of kicks here you really like that you didn't know where on the hardwood every night. And as up-and-coming brands make their run, the giants of the industry are doing what they always do: preparing new models, colorways and player exclusive sneakers to always keep their guys looking good.
There's a lot of heat to break down and there's a new No. 1 waiting to show off an incredible sneaker collection. Let's get to it.
10. Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard has reached the level where it's near impossible to sleep on his game, but plenty of folks are still overlooking his kicks. Lillard is already on his seventh rendition of his signature shoe with Adidas and he's been aggressive with the colorways this season. You'll see below a number of different flavors of the Adidas Dame 7, and there will be more to come as the playoffs near for the Trail Blazers.
Kawhi Leonard has been as consistent as they come in the sneaker scene this season. He's wearing his signature New Balance KAWHI shoe and hasn't hesitated to break out colorways you've never seen him wear before. He makes the cut this week with a couple of new KAWHI colorways that all pop in their respective ways, but none more than a multi-colored pastel vibe (left) he wore on Easter against the Lakers. Perfect shoe for that setting and that always gets extra points over here.
As the longest-tenured Jordan Brand active athlete in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony gets a lot of perks that not everyone on that star-studded roster receives. His pull when it comes to player exclusive kicks is on another level and you can see that with the Jordan 35 sneakers he's featured wearing on this edition. Look close enough and you'll see Anthony's logo on the tongue of the left shoe, while the color scheme and accents pay homage to some of Melo's old signature kicks with Jordan.
Stephen Curry seems to be having a lot of fun on the court in his signature Under Armour Curry 8 sneakers. He's had his choice of different colorways all season, but this week he makes the cut with two customized editions of his kicks. He first broke out a yellow based pair with a number of iconic Asian figures, something he did as an effort to address the uptick in anti-Asian rhetoric across the nation. After wearing those in a matchup against the Hawks in Atlanta, Curry and Under Armour auctioned off the shoes with the proceeds aiding the families of last month's Atlanta-area shooting victims. Curry, who's also an avid golfer, also paid tribute to a legendary name in Masters history with another pair of custom kicks honoring Lee Elder, who was the first African-American to break the color barrier at the event back in 1975. Shout-out to Curry for sharing such powerful messages with his kicks.
6. Trevor Ariza
Trevor Ariza is doing like most people do when they travel to Miami, bringing his best kicks with him. As one of the newer members of the Heat, Ariza hasn't wasted any time showing off his sneaker game in a locker room filled with enthusiasts. Ariza makes the cut this week after lacing up two extremely clean Nike Kobe 5 player exclusive kicks. If this is the type of heat Ariza's bringing, he's going to be a regular here.
5. Kevin Durant
When it comes to signature athletes, the debut of a new model is always a mark-your-calendar type of event. Kevin Durant's calendar had a big circle around April 11 because that's when he was going to lace up the brand-new Nike KD14. The latest in a long line of successful kicks, the KD14 is set to be the sneaker on Durant's feet as he helps the Nets in their pursuit of a title this season. Guaranteed we'll be seeing a lot more of the KD14 in the months to come.
We've told you about Converse's return to the basketball universe before, but what you need to understand is they're doing this with every intention of winning a lot of people over. The colorways are always clean and they're slowly adding to an impressive roster of athletes. One of those athletes is Kelly Oubre Jr., who is widely respected across the league as someone with very unique style. Don't take our word for it, though; just scroll down and check out his collection of colorways of the Converse All Star BB.
3. Luka Doncic
In the last edition of our NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings, we went on and on about a special Jordan 35 PE worn by Wizards star Bradley Beal. The player exclusive kicks took on the look of a classic retro Jordan 5 colorway and they were so clean, we honestly believe that's how the Jordan 35 should look like at all times. Well, Mavericks phenom Luka Doncic caught wind of that and obviously hit up his people at Jordan Brand because he recently laced up a Jordan 35 PE inspired by the iconic Jordan 5 'Grape' colorway and it's simply an immaculate looking pair of shoes. Compliments to the folks behind the scenes at the Jumpman Headquarters on another perfect execution.
When was the last time you saw someone wearing the Reebok Pump on an NBA court? Montrezl Harrell just did that this week. We've been raving about his kicks all season long and he continues to show off just how extensive his Reebok collection is. Our advice is simple: Stay tuned here to see what he breaks out next, because it'll be impressive.
1. Ja Morant
Grizzlies star Ja Morant took to Twitter last month to declare that he'd "[run] out of Kobes" to wear on the court. In the life of an NBA sneakerhead, you absolutely CAN'T run out of fresh footwear to lace up! Luckily for Morant, his stockpile of Nike Kobe kicks seems to have been replenished since that tweet and he's been showing off nothing but heat since. He takes over the No. 1 spot this week with an original Nike Kobe 5 in a Lakers colorway from 2010. And as if a gem like that wasn't enough, Morant also broke out the Kobe 5 and the Kobe 6 from the 'Prelude' collection. The rest of the league should be scared to see what Morant has coming next because it's clear as day that his sneaker arsenal has been restocked.