Review: adidas Kobe Bryant KB8
1996 was the year. Kobe Bryant, an audacious 17 year old basketball phenomenon hailing from Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, signed his first major shoe contract with Adidas – well, with the help of his parents of course.
Oh and that contract was worth 48 million fresh pressed Washington bills to be paid over six years. Again, 17 years old.
Then in 1997 came…
The Adidas KB8, Kobe Bryant’s first ever signature basketball shoe. Yep, take a good look because that’s where it all started. Thinking about how much hype the Mamba’s previous two Nike sneakers have generated, it’s a pretty astonishing 14 year NBA and sneaker escapade that we’ve all been apart of, with hopefully a handful left to come.
When I see the KB8, I can’t help but think of dinosaurs. I know that may sound obscure and perhaps even alarming, but the three teeth like ridges that rise from the outsole to about the middle of the side panel, they invokes images of dinosaur skeleton heads – Flintstones style. Moving on…
The heel counter of the shoe has two exposed straps that form an “X” for added support around the ankle. Those straps additionally serve as the top holes for the laces at the front of the collar. As you can see, the collar rises quite high, which is intended for ankle support as well.
Inside the shoe, Adidas used Feet You Wear technology, which was a technological innovation at the time that aimed to help the sneaker form fit the wearer’s feet. In addition to Feet You Wear, the shoe also features Adidas’ signature Torsion System, a lightweight arch in the midsole that permits the heel and forefoot to move independent of one another for enhanced stability.
While I’m not a huge fan of the exterior design, once you do your homework, you find out that Adidas put quite a lot of thought into a then, rookie Kobe’s first shoe. Ironically enough, the sports equipment giant was the only one to see the Mamba’s true potential even as a 17 year old.
Adidas was clearly planning on putting the weight of their entire basketball department upon his shoulders and while the marriage did not end on the best of terms, the union worked rather well during its tenure. Number 8 Kobe will always be remembered wearing the kicks that his first sneaker employer supplied to him.
In 2005, Adidas re-released the KB8 under its new alias, the Crazy 8. Obviously the name had to change due to the fact that Kobe has been with Nike since 2004. Subsequent to its re-release, the shoe has also come to have well over ten colorways and even has a low-cut version – also ironic by the way.
[Original Release: 1997; Weight: 16.6 oz; Players: Kobe Bryant]
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