A Recent History of Nike Basketball’s Easter Sneakers

  • Shannon Favia

    2012

    The Easter edition of the 2012 LeBron 9 was the first-ever low cut sneaker in the King’s collection, and it stood in stark contrast to the previous high cut. While the Air bubble, tongue, and laces remained largely the same, the low version incorporated significantly more Flywire and mesh in order to make it as light as possible. And while LeBron never wore them in any games, they at least technically did touch an NBA court when actor Kevin James rocked them courtside at a Knicks game.

    In addition to being a part of the Easter collection, the Kobe VII “Poison Dart Frog” was also the next edition of Kobe’s Predator series, which had previously included the cheetah, shark, and wolf. The turquoise-colored frog splotches was the only color on this sneaker that wasn’t black, and was modeled after its namesake reptile. The KD IV was perhaps the most subtle of the bunch, with a teal and turquoise pattern that nevertheless fit perfectly with the classic Easter color palette.

    Nike LeBron 9 Low nike basketball easter sneakers
    Shannon Favia
    1 of 4
  • Shannon Favia

    2013

    Similarly to other years, the concept that tied the 2013 Easter collection together was dyed eggs; however, rather than patterns, these sneakers all used more solid pastel colors. The KD V stood out the most of the bunch, with a blue-green look that snuck in a few subtle patterns on the swoosh, tongue, and heel. The V–the last edition before KD moved to all low-cut sneakers–offered some of the best technology of the series as well, with Nike Zoom cushioning in the forefoot and Zoom Air in the heel to go along with its Hyperfuse upper.

    The LeBron X missed its chance to see NBA action, as the King sat out the Heat’s Easter Sunday matchup with the Spurs for some much-needed rest after the Heat’s 27-game win streak was snapped the previous week. However, the mint green sneakers are still fresh no matter when and where they get worn. The same goes for the Kobe 8 System, which didn’t make it onto the court but nevertheless stands out with its turquoise toe and fiberglass/speckled-egg print on the midsole.

    Nike KD V nike basketball easter sneakers
    Shannon Favia
    2 of 4
  • Nike Kobe 9 EM Easter nike basketball easter sneakers

    Shannon Favia

    2014

    The 2014 collection was all about the low cut, and the star of the three sneakers was undoubtedly the Kobe 9 EM. Deriving its inspiration from the traditional dyed Easter eggs, the Kobe mixes green and blue together on the upper to create an almost tie-dye look that is almost completely unique to basketball shoes. With an accompanying Tee that had a similar pattern, the Kobe EM collection was a must for any collector even though it never graced the court in an NBA game.

    The LeBron 11’s low cut was a new addition to the 11 line, as was its full-length Max Air and zonal articulation. The look was based on the idea of wearing your “Sunday best,” with a crisp white upper and green paisley pattern mirrored after the palm trees of Miami. Although LeBron never wore them, they were at least a favorite of Celtics reserve point guard Phil Pressey. Similarly, the KD VI was a high-performance sneaker that didn’t get much shine on NBA courts. However, with an Easter egg hunt-inspired camo pattern and iconography such as Easter bunnies printed on the outsole of the sneaker, it’s one of the most unique looks ever in the KD line.

    Nike Kobe 9 EM nike basketball easter sneakers
    Shannon Favia
    3 of 4
  • Nike Kyrie 1 Easter nike basketball easter sneakers

    Shannon Favia

    2015

    The 2015 Easter collection was a mix of new and old. The traditional pastels and patterns that we normally associate with Easter blended together with more modern graphics, creating a mix of different looks that put a unique spin on the normal holiday look. Of the sneakers in the collection, the Kyrie 1 best represented this stylistic blend. Traditional Easter purple was the dominant trait of this sneaker, and as one of the two players who actually wore their signature sneaker (along with LeBron) Kyrie probably had the shoe’s top highlight when he dropped this 50-foot bomb against the Bulls on Easter Sunday.

    The LeBron 12 featured a light floral print on the pastel-colored upper, a nod to the King’s proclivity of mashing different prints and colors together when it comes to his own personal style. The Kobe X used the classic Easter color of a robin’s egg as its inspiration, mixing it with a “hot lava” upper. While Kobe never wore them, Khris Middleton rocked them for nearly 49 minutes in the Bucks’ double-overtime loss in Game 3 of their playoff series with the Bulls. The also-unworn KD7 was the certainly the loudest of the bunch, with a liquid lime, vapor green, and sunset glow color scheme that also incorporated a camo pattern as a nod to modern street art.

    Nike Kyrie 1 nike basketball easter sneakers
    Shannon Favia
    4 of 4
  • Nike Kobe 9 EM Easter nike basketball easter sneakers
  • Nike Kyrie 1 Easter nike basketball easter sneakers

Holiday-themed sneaker collections are certainly nothing new, especially not for Nike. Their Christmas collection is greeted with much fanfare every year, especially since it features prominently in the high-profile Christmas Day NBA matchups. But there’s another, more under-the-radar holiday collection from Nike that deserves shine: Easter, and today we’re highlighting Nike Basketball Easter sneakers.

While Christmas gets most of the hype, Easter gets it done with equally inspired colorways and graphics that set this collection apart from anything else Nike does the rest of the year. With springtime as inspiration, Nike gives each signature sneaker a unique, distinct look. In addition to the sneakers, Nike has dropped matching clothing collections, so you can take care of your full fit for Easter, regardless of whether or not you actually celebrate the holiday.

[RELATED: Check out last year’s Easter collection from Nike]

From Kobe Bryant to Kevin Durant to Kyrie Irving to LeBron James, every Nike Basketball collection features all of the brand’s most innovative sneaker tech. However, the fact that they consistently work a single inspirational storyline into every collection keeps the theme prominent rather than just random releases meant to generate excitement. (These players are so good they don’t need any extra excitement.)

[RELATED: Air Force – gravity-defying highlights from LeBron, KD, and Kobe]

This year, the Kobe 11, KD 8, LeBron 13, and Kyrie 2 will be getting the Easter treatment, and for the first time Nike will add an Air Huarache Easter Pack to the mix as well. With the holiday going down this weekend, you don’t have to wait any longer to satisfy your curiosity. The Nike Easter collections for Kyrie, KD, and Kobe drop today at Champs Sports, and it’s safe to assume you’re going to want to cop all of them. To get you ready, here’s a look at a Recent History of Nike Basketball’s Easter Sneakers.

Buy Now

Follow Doug: Twitter

Paintings via Shannon Favia: Instagram // Facebook