So it’s been nearly a week since the Los Angeles Lakers roared back to defeat their arch nemesis, the Boston Celtics, in one of the most epic NBA Finals Game 7’s to date. The Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant, did not exactly have one of his more aesthetically pleasing games as he went 6 of 24 from the field, but he did have a strong game on defense grabbing 15 rebounds. At the end of the day however, we know that Kobe cares not for stats, but whether or not his team wins and by defeating the Celtics, he earned his fifth NBA championship ring, his team’s second in a row and the Lakers’ 16th overall. Through his most injury riddled season ever, the Mamba always kept his feet looking fresh with his ZKB V kicks, rocking different colorways as the year played out. Now, he obviously only rocked colorways that looked good next to the Lakers purple and gold so I figured it would be fun if we explored all of the different editions that have been released and are still to come in a series of parts. Enjoy!
At first glance, the ‘Chaos’ colorway might seem a bit too…well…chaotic. The juxtaposition of colors and patterns just jumps out at you without really allowing your visual sense to settle into a comfort zone. To be honest, I thought these were atrocious when I first saw them, but now, next to the ‘Big Stage’ colorway, it’s one that I wish I had tried harder to acquire.
Inspired by Heath Ledger’s (RIP) jaw-dropping performance of the Joker in The Dark Knight, the ‘Chaos’ colorway is provides the platform for a seamless manifestation of insanity.
The side panels, which house the Flywire are a dark and deep glossy purple with a lime green Swoosh logo boastfully resting on top. The toe box is the same shade of purple while the toe cap is black with a reptile scale pattern. White accents the rest of the upper along with most of the midsole, which also has fuschia paint speckles littered on the heel end. The outsole as well as Kobe’s Sheath logo are doused in the same bright lime green as the Swoosh and the heel counter/heel cap are sort of an off-black accented with a touch of maroon, fuschia speckles and the lime green signature.
Like I said, there’s a lot to digest with this colorway, but if you give it a chance, the scheme just might grow on you and before you know it, you’ll want to be rocking them on the court or the street.
One of the more highly anticipated early releases of the Kobe V was the ‘Dark Knight’ colorway. This release was extremely limited as I gutted it out in line for three hours at the HOH in Los Angeles on a cold January night.
As the counterpart to the ‘Chaos’, I was a bit surprised that the Mamba himself did not push this particular edition more to the public. He’s actually even gone on record to state that the ‘Chaos’ colorway is his personal favorite so by all accounts, perhaps he favors the Joker?
The ‘Dark Knight’ Kobe V was kept relatively simple in terms of color and contrast. Something about the electric blue with the glossy metallic finish along the eyestay, side panels and inner lining of the tongue perfectly conveys the quiet ferocity that lurks within Batman. The rest of the upper is doused in black while the heel end is dressed in charcoal grey. As you can also see, this edition was given a clear rubber outsole on the forefoot half, which many fans of the Kobe V seem to particularly enjoy. The Swoosh logo is black, bordered with silver, which also colors the Sheath logo on the tongue (red on heel end of outsole).
I’ve actually only worn this colorway once as I more regularly use the ‘Away’ when playing. I just couldn’t take more than two people stepping on the DK’s so I’ve chosen to simply shelve them away and break them out very sparingly. All in all though, these were definitely worth the hassle of a three-hour line and still stand as my favorite colorway.
It has been documented that Kobe trains in the martial art, Jeet Kune Do, which Bruce Lee himself developed and is perhaps his most lasting legacy. To express this more unknown side of the Black Mamba, Nike released a ‘Bruce Lee’ colorway of the Kobe V much to the delight of his fans.
The upper and midsole is colored in yellow and black, matching Bruce Lee’s signature track suit that was worn in Game of Death in which he fought basketball legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which provided quite a stunning visual treat. Silver trims out the black Swoosh border as well as the tongue’s Sheath logo while a touch of red accents the heel tab and black outsole. Red also highlights what is probably the best detail on the ‘Bruce Lee’ edition, which has to be the claw marks that rest on the black trim of the upper – yet another signature image from Lee’s classic, Enter the Dragon.
Now, I’m a huge fan of Bruce Lee and am in complete awe of his level of mastery in martial arts, but as far as this tribute colorway of the Kobe V is concerned, I was never really too hot on these kicks.
The overall complexion of the shoe is too bright for my personal taste, but that’s not to say that I find the look bad at all. I will say though that Bruce Lee would look incredibly sharp if he had these on in Game of Death. We can only dream.
I’m always eager to see what Kobe will outfit his feet in on the road so when the time came to unveil the Nike Zoom Kobe V ‘Away’, I was anxious to see how they’d look on the court. As I said a couple of pages ago, this colorway is my go-to pair for indoor play.
Complementing the black base upper is a glossy metallic purple trim along the eyestay, a golden yellow Swoosh bordered in purple and a matte finish black toe cap, all cut with a reptile skin finish. The midsole is split with black and purple while the heel end of the shoe is drenched in Laker gold as is the Sheath logo. Purple smoothly shades the inner lining while the black laces dotted in yellow nicely accents the overall silhouette of the shoe.
The ‘Away’ colorway may seem rather simple and not that captivating, an opinion that I don’t disagree with at all. However, there is something about the way black, purple and golden yellow blends together on the upper that pleases my visual senses. Sometimes, sticking to the basics is what works best and for a regular season road game sneaker, Nike hit the spot with this setup for their go-to baller, the Black Mamba.