Nike has unveiled gumbo-themed sneakers for its biggest names to wear during the 2014 All-Star Game, set for Feb. 16 in New Orleans.
Heat forward LeBron James, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Thunder forward Kevin Durant were among the leading vote-getters for the 2014 All-Star Game, and all three will be wearing special All-Star colorways of their signature shoes next month.
Much like last year, when Nike tapped into Houston's ties to NASA and the space program, the company is leaning on the Big Easy's culture and history for inspiration this time around.
A “gumbo” in the cultural sense, New Orleans is an eclectic mix of characters, music, cuisine and art. You can’t rush gumbo … It requires an instinctive balance of heat, spice and creativity. Inspired by the flavors and stories of the Big Easy, Nike cooked up a bold mix of technical innovation, aesthetic flair and old-fashioned New Orleans traditions for some of the world’s best basketball players: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.
Perhaps the most arresting visual detail this year: all three sneakers glow in the dark.
Here's a look at each of the three models. A gallery with additional images can be found below.
James, the NBA's reigning back-to-back MVP, will get a purple, black and green version of his "LeBron 11" sneakers. The "LeBron 11" was first unveiled back in August.
Inspired by the fearsome alligator, the king of the bayou, the LEBRON 11 Gator King is a bold expression of royalty and power. Gators, often a symbol of protection in New Orleans culture, influence graphic textures throughout the shoe. Invisible to the naked eye, hand-drawn patterns come to life as the Hyperposite bucket of the shoe glows in the dark. The musings of majestic color in deep purples, greens and gold are derived from the “Rex” - king of carnival celebrations.
Bryant, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury and may not play in the All-Star Game, gets a black, yellow, green and red version of his high-top "Kobe 9" signature sneakers. The "Kobe 9" was first unveiled back in December.
Nike Basketball pays tribute to the masters of Jazz in its birthplace. Like great jazz musicians who play instinctively, Bryant brings a similar improvisation to his game. Paying homage to this classic genre and some of its greatest musicians, the KOBE 9 Elite Maestro uses accents of brass in the upper. A glow-in-the-dark outsole pops at night, just as the jazz clubs swing into action. The upper includes additional, secret glow-in-the-dark symbols.
Durant, the NBA's current scoring leader, will get a black, green, red and orange version of his "KD VI" signature sneakers.
Not everything is what it first appears to be in New Orleans. Similarly, Durant defies the perception of a near seven-footer – an illusion of sorts. His limitless scoring range is redefining the perception of a forward. Celebrating the magic of KD’s versatility, the KD VI Illusion showcases hand-drawn patterns on the upper emulating Durant’s fluidity on the court. A glow-in-the-dark outsole also represents the “spark” of KD’s game.
Nike's 2014 All-Star Game sneakers will go on sale on Feb. 14.
All-Star Game: Winners and losers from the fan voting process
Here's a gallery with more detailed images of all three shoes.