words // Zac Dubasik
There’s never been an NBA player who’s shown love to their high school quite like LeBron James. In an era where HS superstars are more likely than ever to be transferring schools during their career, the loyalty among the “Fab Five” of homegrown kids at SVSM was all the more impressive.
Even now, a full nine years removed from attending Akron, Ohio’s St. Vincent-St. Mary, LeBron continues to rep his school’s green and gold colors, which have since become common knowledge in the hoops community. The school was even immortalized on film, when 2009’s “More Than a Game” showcased LeBron’s team’s journey to a national championship.
Knowing how much LeBron has done for his alma mater, it should come as no surprise that they are doing something for him. This Tuesday, along with his four teammates who were also featured in the “More Than a Game” film, LeBron will be enshrined in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
In celebration of the occasion, we take a look back at some of the best LeBron shoes worn as he created a legacy worthy of such an honor. Throughout his storied high school career, of course, exclusive kicks just seemed to have a habit of finding their way to LeBron’s feet.
10. adidas Pro Model
Death. Taxes. And the adidas Pro Model. Some things are just going to happen. Death and taxes might not be much fun, but this PE version of the Pro Model is one of the more exciting versions of the long-running tried and true line.
9. Nike Air Max Finisher
I know, I know. You probably thought the “Top Ten Most Forgettable Shoes With ‘Max Air’ In Their Name” might be the only Top 10 list you’d ever see the Air Max Finisher end up on … if you happen to remember it existed … if you even knew it existed in the first place. Luckily though, this pair of PE’s found its way to LeBron’s feet, saving the model from obscurity.
It’d be easy to write the “Flag” Kobe Two off as one of the ugliest products of any kind … ever … but as sneaker fans, we often just can’t get around the mystique of exclusivity. Rumored to be less than 30 pairs in existence, this shoe serves as an example of just how important LeBron was to the sneaker companies fighting for his attention.
5. Reebok Question
Long before John Wall wore a PE of the poor-performing Question (during his break from the poor-performing Zig Slash), LeBron had his own version, and was actually the first player not named Allen Iverson to receive a custom colorway of The Answer’s iconic first shoe.
4. Nike Zoom Flight 2K3
The Zoom Flight 2K3 may have been a great playing shoe, but it’s been largely ignored – quickly being overshadowed by the unrelated and similarly named, Huarache 2K4. This LeBron PE version of the 2K3 has probably had the most impact in keeping the model’s memory alive, thanks to its bold and gold patent base.
3. Nike Ultraflight
While a LeBron James Hyperflight PE sure would have looked cool, luckily for Nike, it came out almost two years prior to the Ultraflight – and LeBron was spared wearing that performance disaster. But the Ultraflight looked awful cool too – especially in this LeBron PE colorway – which earns it a high spot on the list.
2. adidas TMac 2 (Green/ Gold)
Long before Tracy McGrady spent a season in Detroit, a few months in New York, and even an injury-plagued four years in Houston, he had a successful signature sneaker line with adidas. LeBron has often cited T-Mac (along with Penny Hardaway) as one of his favorite players, so a green and gold colorway of the line’s most popular shoe was an easy choice for our list.
1. Air Jordan IX
When you are playing the last game of your high school career, with a national title on the line, you might as well pull out a decent pair of kicks. LeBron went with a pair of Air Jordan PEs – a hard choice to argue.