Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry raised some eyebrows on Thursday night, when ESPN's Chris Haynes reported that the two-time NBA MVP will play in low-top sneakers when he makes his return to the court from a sprained ankle.
He'll wear the Under Armour Curry 5 low, which was unveiled on March 14, and this marks the first time Curry will play in a low-top shoe since getting his own signature line with Under Armour.
Curry has missed the last six games with an injury to his right ankle -- the same ankle on which he had surgery early in his career and the same ankle that caused him to miss 11 games in December. Conventional thinking says that low-top shoes provide more risk for ankle injuries, but Curry isn't worried about it.
"I wanted to switch it up a little bit with a light shoe that could help speed the game up for me," Curry told ESPN. "It is kind of ironic that I made the switch this season considering my ankle issues, but this shoe is stable and engineered to maximize my performance. I will still wear my ankle braces, but I have total comfort and security in my new shoe."
Low-top shoes have become a regularity in the NBA since Kobe Bryant first wore his own low-top Nike model in 2008, designed to mimic the functionality of soccer cleats. Bryant explained at the time that he didn't think the shoes would lead to more rolled ankles -- in fact, it could be the opposite.
"I've been playing basketball all my life and I've worn high-tops for a lot of those games, and I've rolled my ankle plenty wearing high-tops," Bryant said in 2008. "If you come down on somebody's foot, you're going to roll your ankle and there's not a lot you can do about it. But to have a low, I feel like it gives your foot more freedom to change direction."
Indeed, it's hard to imagine that a shoe would make much difference in preventing sprained ankles, particularly if you're wearing ankle braces, but Warriors fans shudder any time Curry and "ankles" are mentioned in the same sentence. We'll have to wait and see if the new low-tops contribute to his chronic problems.