9. Nike Huarache 2K4
The Hyperdunk before the Hyperdunk.
Many call the year 2004 the start of the Black Mamba reign. Kobe Bryant averaged 27.8 points, 6.4 assist, 6,9 rebounds, and shot 40% from the field. Not bad considering his team at the time as Shaquille O’Neal left the Lakers and joined the Miami heat. It was also a time in which Nike Basketball signed Kobe Bryant in 2003 for five years, $45M. But stats and his new sneaker family is not the news here, the 2K4’s is regarded to this day as the best basketball sneaker ever by many.
Inspired by so many sneakers, Eric Avar designed the 2K4’s to be a revolutionary sneaker. And it was. It became the sneaker for the league, just how the Hyperdunk is now to the league and world wide. Many NBA players wore the sneaker on the daily as it had a great look for on court with Nike Zoom for cushion and a very stable base for a smooth ride. Integrating a strap right across the ankle kept you locked in at all times, however it could definitely use another lace hole.
You can have an arguement that this may not have been the start of the destruction of the Mamba, but when Shaq left Los Angeles, it was on. Bryant played each game with a chip on his shoulder in an journey to prove that he could do it on his own. The purple and gold alpha male wore many classic colorways of this including the Vivo edition as well as the All-Star colorway in Los Angeles.