words_Nick DePaula

One thing I’ve learned over the past few weeks is that the FIBA World Championships have a way of combining sneakers and team colors from throughout the industry that have no business being in the same sentence. Nike Basketball is putting a lot behind the new Hyperdunk 2010 and Hyperfuse, and adidas is pushing their new adiZero line thanks to the lightning-quick play of Derrick Rose, so of course it would make perfect sense then that a signature shoe who’s namesake is skipping the tournament entirely, in colorways nicknamed “USA” and “Miles Davis,” was spotted in a Brazil vs. Spain game, for example.

And unlike college teams matching sneakers in unison, or highly-touted pros in the NBA each wearing their very own player exclusive model with exact pantone accents, the FIBA games enter into some weird middle ground where there’s simply a blatant disregard for matching altogether.

Brazil’s Alex Garcia guards Spain’s Juan Carlos Navarro in this awkwardly clashing matchup of the Zoom Kobe V. The “China” Zoom Kobe V wouldn’t make team sense either for Navarro, but at least they’d match.

For some reason, the USA-themed Zoom Kobe V has been a hugely popular choice among players specifically not on the U.S. team. Here we have Ali Mahmoud of Lebanon getting stuffed at the rim by Spain’s Fran Vasquez, who is wearing what appear to be the ultimate adidas-Pro Model-turned-Grant Hill-tribute.

New Zealand’s Thomas Abercrombie, also a huge fan of America apparently.

By far my favorite moment of country confusion and the best sneaker sighting of the tournament was the awkwardly harsh and multiple seasons old “Stars & Stripes” TS Pro Models worn by France’s Mickael Gelabale. I can’t really explain this one.

Taking things a step even further, Brazil’s Alex Garcia was also seen wearing the “United We Rise” Zoom Kobe V. A second non-matching, yet U.S.-themed sneaker from Garcia in a tournament of nations! Perhaps somebody at Nike could’ve just ordered him a pair of iDs. Slovenia’s Primoz Brezec wasn’t exactly gifted a shiny new Hyperdunk 2010 or Zoom Hyperfuse apparently, as he’s sticking with the 2007 Huarache Elite.

Matching obviously is of no importance here – even for a player who’s country has an exclusive colorway of the Hyperdunk 2010 that not one player has worn – as Brazilian Center Tiago Splitter is seen in the White/Black/Red version of the same model.

And lastly, this is actually a shoe that was made specifically for Leandro Barbosa to wear in the World Basketball Championships and that features the Brazilian flag along the tongue, and still doesn’t match the team’s uniform. I have no idea why the lighter shade of blue on his adidas adiZero Infiltrate don’t quite match his uniform’s royal accents, but then again, that seems to be a common theme for players representing all brands in this tournament.