Review: Nike Zoom Kobe III

'Lakers Home' colorway

The relationship between Kobe Bryant and Eric Avar can be likened to the one between a barber and client.  Granted, I’ve had many barbers/stylists grace my hair with their skill and talent throughout the years, but I’ve arrived at one particular barber who simply understands what I want and is actually able to turn expectation into form.  Sorry Ken Link, but you’re that other barber to whom Kobe would go only if Eric was not available.  I kid, I kid…kind of.

“Kobe says it’s one of his favorite shoes to this day. The shoe played great, there was great cushioning and a great responsive feel”, said Avar about the Zoom Kobe III.

Avar recalls Kobe emphasizing the analogy between his game and a black mamba snake.  Kobe mentioned that the black mamba is one of the most “deadly and sleek creatures on Earth”.  The sneaker genius was immediately inspired to create a shoe that could capture the essence of Kobe’s deadly attack on the court.  Weight, stability, and comfort were the main points that he wanted to tackle on the Kobe III.

The Mamba locking it down.

The shoe was given a protruding outrigger for unquestioned support and dual Zoom air cushioning.  The simple upper was composed of one piece of mesh and a molded rubber structure shaped like a net with a simple lacing system for ease and convenience.  While the collar appears to be quite loose and unreliable, once laced up, ankle support is not much of a concern.  Unconventionally as well, the Nike Swoosh logo rests above the heel rather than being on the medial or lateral side panel.  Avar’s mission to create a light and reliable high performance basketball sneaker, which also happened to be Kobe’s third signature shoe with Nike, was emphatically accomplished through a simple and decisive approach.

Keep in mind too, these were the kicks that Kobe rocked during the 2007-2008 campaign during which he earned the highly coveted NBA MVP trophy and led the Lakers to the NBA Finals.

Personally using these kicks as my go-to pair for outdoor play, I will endorse the shoe as being light, stable, and comfortable.  I have played with them indoors as well, which is clearly the intended surface for the shoe, but regardless, it’s not hard to see why Kobe had such high praise for his third signature sneaker.

The Mamba had some fun with the commercial for this shoe, throwing down some nasty dunks dressed up as none other than Mozart.  Check it out!

[Original Release: 2008; Weight: 13.0 oz.; Players: Kobe Bryant]

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