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Kobe Bryant wearing low-tops

Bryant unveiled his latest Nike signature shoe Friday night—a low-cut sneaker the league’s reigning MVP donned in a game for the first time when his Los Angeles Lakers visited the Miami Heat. At 11.6 ounces, Nike says it’s the lightest basketball shoe it has created, and Bryant is convinced the switch makes the most sense for his game.

“It feels great, feels great,” Bryant said. “I’m excited about it.”

Mostly all NBA players wear kid or high-cut shoes with an ancle brace to prevent injury but not Kobe. Bryant is sticking with plain old athletic tape for ankle support, and says that’s enough.

High-tops really don’t do much for you,” Bryant said Friday. “If you’re going to roll your ankle, you’re going to roll it. It kind of is what it is. If you come down on somebody’s foot, nothing you can do really about that. I wanted to have more mobility in the ankle, more movement at the foot and a lighter weight shoe, and I got it.”

Bryant was directly involved in the design of the shoe, which will be available in stores in February.

He said he didn’t consult any other players who have worn low-cuts, either now or in the past, about the specifications of the sneaker, which he said has special technology to keep a player’s heel in place—something that was among his most important requests, he said.
“It’s more about what I needed as an athlete, me, myself,” Bryant said. “When I play, how do I feel when I wear the shoe? When I wear high-tops, how did I feel? What would I like to see improve in the shoes? What would I like to see perform better? From that, in our meetings, I would just throw all this stuff to them and they would come back with the technology necessary."


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