A History of Kobe Bryant’s NBA All-Star Sneakers

  • adidas KB8
    adidas KB8

    1998

    In New York City, Bryant earned a starting role in the All-Star Game and went head-to-head against Michael Jordan. The teenager scored 18 points and put the world on notice: He was coming for that throne. The kicks weren’t bad, either. These are now known as the Crazy 8.

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  • adidas Top Ten Supreme NBA All-Star

    John Mabanglo/Getty Images

    adidas Top Ten Supreme

    2000

    After missing out on the ’99 All-Star Game because of the lockout, Bryant returned in grand fashion to the big game in 2000. Rocking an all-white version of the adidas Top Ten Supreme, KB scored 15 in a West win, with fellow Lakers Phil Jackson coaching the squad and Shaquille O’Neal winning co-MVP.

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  • adidas The Kobe NBA All-Star
    adidas The Kobe "Sunshine"

    2001

    In Washington, D.C., Kobe and the West had to suffer through a bad loss, giving up a huge lead to Allen Iverson and the East. But Bryant was spectacular down the stretch, hitting a number of impossible shots during crunch time to finish with 19 points, nearly stealing the game back for the West.

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  • adidas The Kobe II

    2002

    Our boy wins the MVP and the game for the West, going for 31 points and taking 25 shots in his hometown of Philadelphia. The fans still boo him relentlessly but it doesn’t affect Bryant at all. He rocks a pair of his signature sneakers that he’ll also later wear in the Lakers’ home games during the NBA Finals.

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  • Air Jordan 3
    Air Jordan III "True Blue"

    2003

    KB secured the most fan votes for this one, and then stepped up big for the West during the team’s 155-145 double-overtime win. Bryant “only” had 22 points — and I say that because a couple other players nearly reached 40 — but he was all over the floor, finishing with seven rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks.

    He did a lot of it against Michael Jordan, too, in his classic Jordan III.

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  • Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K4 Kobe Bryant NBA All-Star

    Nice Kicks

    Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K4

    2004

    Back in Los Angeles, the West won and Shaq won another MVP award as Bryant had a relatively quiet 20-point night. He did, however, bring out an All-Star colorway of the Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K4, a sneaker he still considers one of his favorites.

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  • Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K5 Kobe Bryant All-Star
    Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K5

    2005

    In the midst of one of the most trying seasons of his career, trying to repair his image after Shaq left and with the Lakers lottery-bound, Bryant still found time to rock the Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K5 — a sneaker I wore on-court for almost three years in college — while finishing with 15 points in a losing effort.

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  • Nike Zoom Kobe 1 NBA All-Star

    James Nielsen/Getty Images

    Nike Air Zoom Kobe I

    2006

    LeBron James won the game and the MVP award, stealing it all away from Tracy McGrady. Bryant? He had maybe the quietest All-Star night of his career, finishing with eight points, eight assists, and seven boards. It was ironic, considering this was the season he broke all sorts of scoring records with over 35 points per game.

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  • LeBron James, Kobe Bryant NBA All-Star Game

    Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images

    Nike Air Zoom Kobe II Sheath

    2007

    In a high-scoring affair set in Las Vegas, Bryant might’ve lost out to LeBron on the highest number of fan votes but the Mamba did out-duel James to finish with a W, 31 points, and another MVP award.

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  • Nike Zoom Kobe III

    2008

    Just a few days before the game was set to take place in New Orleans, Lakers doctors examined Bryant and found out he had a torn ligament in his right pinky finger. Kobe would go on to play through the injury all year while leading L.A. to the Finals, but because of league policy he was forced to appear in this game and was denied the right to sit it out. He played, for less than three minutes, and then chilled as LeBron won the MVP.

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  • Nike Zoom Kobe 4
    Nike Zoom Kobe IV

    2009

    In Phoenix, Kobe and Shaq would win co-MVPs together — with Phil Jackson back as coach of the West — by combining for 44 points and numerous highlights. (Who remembers Shaq coming out with the JabbaWockeeZ?!) The best moment of all might’ve come during the MVP trophy presentation when O’Neal pretended like he was fighting Mamba for the trophy. Good times.

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  • Nike Zoom Kobe V
    Nike Zoom Kobe V

    2010

    In 2010, Bryant was voted into the starting lineup once again but didn’t play due to an injury. His still had a red-and-black version of the Nike Zoom Kobe V release as an “All-Star” colorway.

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  • Nike Zoom Kobe 6
    Nike Zoom Kobe VI

    2011

    Kobe returned to the midseason classic in 2011 and won the MVP, going off for a ridiculous 37 points and 14 rebounds while rocking another red-based All-Star Game colorway.

    I still vividly remember this game. Bryant was going harder than I’ve ever seen anyone go in an All-Star Game.

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  • Nike Kobe 7

    Nike

    Nike Zoom Kobe VII

    2012

    Kobe followed up that performance with another 27 points in Orlando the following season, my first in-person All-Star experience. Unfortunately, Dwyane Wade actually broke Kobe’s nose during the game. Later, he’d be diagnosed with a concussion as well. Still, Bryant was involved in one of the biggest plays of the game, checking LeBron one-on-one in a two-point game, forcing a turnover, and then talking trash to ‘Bron after James gave up the ball instead of shooting. Oh yeah, KB also passed Michael Jordan to become the No. 1 scorer in NBA All-Star Game history with a third quarter dunk.

    The Galaxy-themed kicks were super dope, too.

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  • Nike Kobe 8 System

    Nike

    Nike Kobe 8 System

    2013

    Somehow, Bryant still secured the most fan votes out of anyone in ’13, finishing with nearly 1.6 million. The old man scored only nine points in the game but at least he killed it when it came to his kicks. With the game being played in Houston, Bryant’s “extraterrestrial” theme fit perfectly with the city’s history of space exploration.

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  • Nike Kobe 9 Elite All-Star

    Nike

    Nike Kobe 9 Elite

    2014

    Despite being injured, Bryant still somehow got enough votes to “start.” He never suited up but the shoes were still hot, featuring a glow-in-the-dark outsole and Jazz musician inspirations.

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  • Nike Kobe X

    Nike

    Nike Kobe X

    2015

    Bryant won’t be playing this year, but Nike still came correct with his All-Star colorway, using the 1964 New York World’s Fair as an inspiration.

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  • adidas KB8
  • adidas Top Ten Supreme NBA All-Star
  • adidas The Kobe NBA All-Star
  • Air Jordan 3 "True Blue" Kobe Bryant
  • Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K4 Kobe Bryant NBA All-Star
  • Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K5 Kobe Bryant All-Star
  • Nike Zoom Kobe 1 NBA All-Star
  • LeBron James, Kobe Bryant NBA All-Star Game
  • Nike Zoom Kobe 4 "All-Star"
  • Nike Zoom Kobe V "All-Star"
  • Nike Zoom Kobe 6 "All-Star"
  • Nike Kobe 7 "Galaxy" All-Star
  • Nike Kobe 8 System "All-Star"
  • Nike Kobe 9 Elite All-Star
  • Nike Kobe X "All-Star"

Kobe Bryant has always loved playing in the NBA All-Star Game. One of my fondest memories of a young Mamba came during the 2001 midseason classic when, amidst a nationwide love affair with Allen Iverson, Bryant nearly shut the league up himself by making a couple of impossible fadeaways in the final minutes of a close game, all of them in Dikembe Mutombo‘s mug, every one of them the type of shot that no one else in the game would even attempt, let alone make.

With Bryant sitting out this year’s NBA All-Star Game because of his recent rotator cuff surgery, it’s as good a time as ever to take a look at his history in the main event.

I love Kobe’s game more than anyone and I’ll never doubt the man’s fire and determination. But it’s something everyone is wondering now: Will we ever see the Mamba in the All-Star Game again? It’s a viable question, considering he’ll be 37 years old next season in what’ll likely be his last year.

From his second year in the league when he made the All-Star Game as a sixth man for the Lakers to his most recent healthy appearance in 2013, no one’s had a bigger impact than KB. Bryant and Bob Pettit are the only two players in history to win the MVP of this game four times, and Bryant is also the game’s all-time leading scorer. (Sorry, Michael.) His legacy will also include the sneakers. From adidas to Nike, the man has consistently brought the heat.

Before the “5 a.m.” colorway of the Nike Kobe X drops this weekend at Champs Sports, and with the newly-revealed All-Star colorway of the shoe coming soon after, make sure you’re up on game. Here is A History of Kobe Bryant’s NBA All-Star Sneakers.

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Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney

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image via Ronald Martinez/Getty Images