A Look Back: The Best Basketball Sneakers From October 2006

A Look Back: The Best Basketball Sneakers From October 2006

It seems difficult to fathom, but some pretty well-known sneakers that dropped in 2006 are already 15 years old. This fall, shoes like the LeBron IV, Kobe 1, and Air Max 360 are just five years away from turning 20. Back in ‘06, future legends like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tracey McGrady, and Dwyane Wade were making names for themselves. Some of the shoes they were wearing became legendary as well. Here are some of the memorable basketball sneakers from that October 2006 Eastbay catalog.

Nike

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike LeBron
Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike Kobe

This was back when LeBron James was really taking off in popularity. Entering his fourth season with the Cleveland Cavs, LeBron also had a new sneaker: the Zoom LeBron IV. Featuring a full-length Zoom Air unit, this model has definitely been a fan favorite over the years. Most people also say this sneaker was built like a tank, weighing a whopping 27.8 ounces. You could also still cop the LeBron III in the low-cut model as well.

The Zoom Kobe 1 was also available that month in the all-black colorway. There were also four colorways still available in the Eastbay Outlet section for $99.99. This was Kobe Bryant’s first official model with Nike after he left adidas and entered one of the most amazing sneaker free agency periods of all time.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike Air
Look Back Eastbay Catlaog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike

Other popular models that season were the Air Max 360 and Air Max 180. As described in the name, the Air Max 360 featured a completely full-length, Air-Sole unit for the most Air cushioning ever. The Air Max 180 had a massive Air Max heel unit along with Zoom Air in the forefoot. Those who hooped in these always have fond memories of them.

Team Basketball sneakers were incredibly popular back then, with the Air Zoom Huarache Elite TB, Air Max Elite TB, and Shox Elite TB being the top choices for high school and college players. The Huarache Elite was designed for smaller, quicker guards, and the Air Max Elite and Shox Elite were built for bigger players. Each model came in just about every colorway imaginable for team matching.

As for retro models, there were a few familiar sneakers available as well, including the Air More Tempo, Air Max Penny IV, and Air Max 2 CB ‘94 Low. Nike was trying to bring back some popular models from 10 years earlier by adding in some new colorways. Unfortunately, the colorways were a bit too off and never really caught on with sneakerheads.

Jordan Brand

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Jordan Brand Carmelo Anthony

Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony was entering his fourth season in the NBA as well, and his signature Jordan Brand sneaker was grabbing everyone’s attention. The October 2006 Eastbay featured the Jordan Melo M3 along with a matching apparel collection. The Jordan XXI PE and Low models were also available that month.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Jordan Brand

Retro Jordans were continuing to grow in popularity, with the Air Jordan IV ‘Military Blue’ available for kids. There were also four new colorways of the Air Jordan V, including the ‘Green Bean’ colorway, which is rumored to return in 2022.

There was also a ton of Jordan apparel, including authentic on-court UNC, Georgetown and California warmups.

adidas

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 adidas

With Kobe Bryant leaving for Nike in 2003, the new star for adidas was Rockets star Tracy McGrady. His T-Mac sneaker line was packed with high-performance models, including the T-MAC 6, T-MAC Trainer, and T-MAC III. There was also the adidas Courtshark, which was inspired by the T-MAC 5. Retro-wise, the Crazy 8 retro was very popular. This model was originally worn by Kobe Bryant, but was marketed for Wizards star Gilbert Arenas in 2006.

Converse

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Converse Dwyane Wade

Coming off the Heat’s 2006 championship season, Dwyane Wade’s sneaker stock was soaring. In the summer of 2003, Wade left Jordan Brand and signed a deal with Converse, somewhat surprising the sneaker world. Wade’s 1.3 Mid and Signature LE were both available in the October 2006 catalog.

Reebok

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Reebok

2006 would be a challenging year for Sixers star Allen Iverson, as he was traded in December to the Denver Nuggets. Iverson was still Reebok’s #1 athlete though, and still had a loyal following. That fall, the Answer X released, featuring Pump Adjustable technology for a custom fit. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Iverson’s Question Mid was still incredibly popular 10 years later, and still was available in many different sleek colorways.

Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories or read more of his work here.

A Look Back: Q&A with ESPN’s Nick DePaula

A Look Back: Q&A with ESPN’s Nick DePaula

Whether it’s the latest athlete sneaker signing or breaking sneaker news from around the NBA, feature writer and creative director Nick DePaula has been the industry’s trusted source for sneaker stories and information for years. From his time at Sole Collector, Nice Kicks and Yahoo’s The Vertical, to his current gig with ESPN, I’ve always enjoyed reading Nick’s articles, and he’s one of the first sneakerheads I started following on Instagram.

Nick and I share a similar passion for sneakers, especially kicks that released in the ‘90s. We grew up in an era when print catalogs and TV commercials were the main ways to get a good look at the hottest new sneaker releases. Back when the internet was young and rudimentary, we looked to Eastbay for images, pricing and tech info for every single sneaker. I thought it would be fun to ask Nick a few questions about his childhood and the influence Eastbay had on him growing up:

DH: First of all, where did you grow up?

NDP: Sacramento is home! The Kings meant everything to me as a kid, and are definitely responsible for my love of hoops early on. Purple has been my favorite color ever since. I’ve been throwing ridiculous behind-the-back passes since middle school ’cause of Jason Williams. I’d even go as far as labeling ‘How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days’ a classic movie – it’s the one time the Sacramento Kings ever made the NBA Finals.

DH: What were your favorite sports to play as a kid?

NDP: We played literally everything as a kid – that’s what kids should do. Baseball. Football. Soccer. Tennis. Golf. Street hockey. Volleyball. Ping pong. Aggressive in-line skating even, if you’re old enough to remember that phase in the ‘90s. You name it, and we probably tried it.

Nothing compared to hoops though. You could find us at 10th & P in downtown Sac every Saturday from Noon to 4 getting runs in. My brother Eric and I had a Friday night ritual growing up too: 1-on-1 on the hoop out front. First to 100, by ones.

DH: How did you get introduced to Eastbay and their catalogs and when?

NDP: The first time I saw an Eastbay magazine (we didn’t call it a “catalog!”) was at Foot Locker at the Downtown Plaza around late 1996. I excitedly signed up for a free subscription and never looked back. All through elementary, middle and even high school, I’d read the latest Eastbay and that day’s Sacramento Bee sports page with my cereal, every morning before heading off to school.

I might not have had the craziest sneaker collection growing up, but over the years, I was able to learn about every company’s technologies, design approach, stable of players and their newest innovations, all from the Eastbay pages. I’d read up on sneakers from all sports, and try to memorize the tech descriptions and even the weights listed, whether that was a pair of Mizuno volleyball shoes, specialty runners, cheerleading kicks, or the latest signature sneakers.

Checking out the latest issue with LeBron on the cover still gives me that same feeling. It’s fun to turn each page and find out what new running designs are launching, what NBA shorts Nike has in store, what gear each brand has coming out, and see all the latest lineups for every sport.

DH: What did you order from the catalogs?

NDP: I had a $40 sneaker budget in elementary and middle school, and that got upped to $50 in high school, so I had to get real nice at finding deals. I always kept tabs on the “Final Score” issues that would cycle through the mailbox every so often. Whenever I came to a page with smaller shoe pictures and red circles all over, that’s when I’d get real hopeful that my size 13 or 14 was still listed as available somewhere on the “Great Buys on Large Sizes!” page.

Early on, I was typically ordering signature gear that my favorite players wore, like Allen Iverson’s Reebok collection, 3 Stripes tees that were Kobe-approved, or a variety of Nike Basketball tees that had guys like Kevin Garnett, Penny Hardaway or Scottie Pippen pictured alongside them. This was all back in the pre-internet days, where your mom would literally call Wisconsin and read off the product number to place an order.

Something I loved about Eastbay during the turn of the millennium was how many new brands started appearing in the mag too. I remember buying a few Goat Gear tees to hoop in during high school practices, after reading up on the legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault. Even though I lived in Sacramento, it felt like I had access to all of the best basketball gear around through Eastbay.

In 2002, I damn near had the entire Jordan two3 beach collection – yes, even the towel! I rocked the two3 Cavvy dress shoe in black to my senior prom. Durasheen dazzle and NCAA replica team shorts were a practice staple for me. Eastbay finds pretty much made up my closet all throughout my school days, even into college at the University of Oregon, once ordering online changed the game up.

DH: What is a grail shoe that was featured in Eastbay that you were never able to pick up?

NDP: Tons – tons of pairs. The first shoe that immediately captivated my attention in the pages was the neon blue Foamposite One. It looked unlike anything else out there. Back then, my boy Austin Hicks and I would take pens and just circle everything we wanted in the mag. Every once in awhile, his mom would surprise him with pairs he was after, but it took me another decade to finally track down the Foams.

The late 90s had so many amazing runners that I was never able to grab at the time. The Tailwind IIs and Zoom Citizens were incredible. Adidas had a great run with the EQT Salvation, Galaxy and Ozweego lines too. Reebok’s DMX runners were instant classics. Every so often, Eastbay would also have exclusive team bank colors for basketball models like the Air Jordan XV, Team Max Zoom or even the Flightposite II, that you just couldn’t find anywhere else.

DH: Who are some of your favorite people you’ve interviewed over the years?

NDP: So many people immediately come to mind! Penny Hardaway was one of my very first cover interviews way back in 2008, and I’ve been able to follow the design process of all of his sneakers since. We worked on a huge ‘Penny Pack’ collaboration for an amazing Sole Collector event in Las Vegas in 2011 that I’ll never forget. He’s literally the best, both with his time and access, and also his passion for the sneaker industry and input. I just was out in Memphis a few weeks ago to see him again, and it’s been amazing now to see how he’s evolved into Coach Hardaway and the impact he’s having on his hometown.

There’s an endless amount of designers that’ve also been great to talk to. Tinker Hatfield and Eric Avar are each the best designers in footwear history, and so great at storytelling around innovations, athlete insights and performance solutions. Gentry Humphrey at Jordan Brand has legendary stories for days and is a hilarious guy. Both Marc Dolce and Denis Dekovic at Adidas are great dudes as well and I love catching up with them to see all that they’re working on at the Brooklyn Creator Farm.

DH: What are you up to these days?

NDP: I’ve been super fortunate to be writing about sneakers and basketball over the past thirteen years. I helped to run Sole Collector Magazine back in the print days and got to work on almost 20 collaboration sneakers in the span of 7 years that I was there. The awesome co-founders Steve Mullholand and Alex Wang gave me a shot to write for the Mag when I was still in college and really helped shape how I view content and storytelling ever since. 

After that, I joined Matt Halfhill, Ian Stonebrook and an amazing team of people passionate about footwear and the culture around it over at Nice Kicks. I spent a couple of months working on a comprehensive Allen Iverson feature about his rise with Reebok in advaance of his 40th birthday that I’ve been pretty proud of since. (Make a couple sandwiches and give it a read…)

Now, I’m writing about the footwear industry at ESPN. It’s been amazing to see how sneakers have grown to be highlighted on a platform of that size and legacy. It’s a best-in-class team across the board. With the vision of OG Bobbito Garcia, we even recently launched a new footwear show on ESPN+ called SneakerCenter that just dropped its latest episode this week.

All along, one of my career highlights was definitely working on a few interviews and special sidebar sections for Eastbay’s 25th Anniversary issue. I really do credit all of those Eastbay magazines that I grew up reading for powering that base of sneaker knowledge that I was so excited to learn more about and add to. Once SLAM dropped the first issue of KICKS in 1998, I kind of realized that writing about sneakers could become a real thing, and have been at it ever since.

The 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

There are a few things that are undeniably true about the 2016 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductees: they were incredible players, they changed the game, and they had awesome nicknames. The Answer. The Big Diesel. The Great Wall. Now, some of the most recognizable players in the history of basketball will take their place among the game’s best as Hall of Famers.

Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson – The Answer

Allen Iverson was pound-for-pound one of the most lethal scorers the game has ever seen. Despite his diminutive frame, he became one of the game’s most difficult players to guard with his quickness, athleticism, and patented crossover. He was one of the most effective score-first point guards at a time when pass-first point guards were much more traditional.

Iverson led the league in scoring four times and was named MVP in 2001. Iverson was an All-Star in 11 of his 14 seasons and averaged 26.7 points and 6.2 assists per game. You can check out some of Iverson’s crazy crossovers and other career highlights here.

Shaquille O’Neal – The Big Diesel

On the other end of the size spectrum, one of the game’s biggest players – literally and figuratively – joins Iverson as a 2016 inductee. Shaquille O’Neal comes in at 7’1” and was listed at 325 pounds by the end of his playing career. He spent 19 years in the league, winning four championships, and appearing in 15 All-Star games. He averaged 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game over the course of his career.

Shaq dominated the league with his massive size, but it was his larger-than-life personality that made him a fan favorite. The Big Diesel now works as a media personality, providing basketball analysis with a blend of humor and insight. Watch the top-10 Shaq-tastic highlights from his playing days here.

Yao Ming – The Great Wall

Shaq was big, but even he looked small compared to Yao Ming. At 7’6”, Yao Ming was the tallest active player while in the league, and he used that frame to average 19 points and 9.2 rebounds per game during his career, which was cut short due to injury issues.

As an 8-time All-Star, his success helped pave the way for foreign athletes, and he is still considered one of the best international players of all time. His popularity in China was instrumental in growing the game of basketball on a global level, which is perhaps his biggest contribution to the game. Check out Yao Ming’s top-10 highlights here.

Sheryl Swoopes – The Queen

Dubbed The Queen of the Court, Swoopes is considered to be the female equivalent to Michael Jordan. Her long list of accolades includes four championships, six All-Star Game appearances, and three MVP Awards. She is widely considered one of the most influential female athletes in the game.

Swoopes is regarded as one of the best basketball players of all time and is credited with helping grow the women’s game to where it is today. Check out her impact on the sport in this video feature.

Reebok Q96 Cross Examine ‘Jadite’

Reebok Q96 Cross Examine ‘Jadite’

Reebok Q96 Cross Examine 'Jadite' (2)

words // Brandon Richard

Inspired by the ‘A Shoe About Nothing’ collaboration with Swedish boutique Sneakersnstuff, Reebok is releasing the Question-inspired Q96 Cross Examine in an all-new ‘Jadite’ colorway.

The modernized performance model features a teal synthetic and mesh base with red working a suede overlay on the toebox, eyelet detailing, trim along the quarter panels and a tumbled leather collar. White takes care of the laces and DMX Foam cushioned sole to complete the look.

These Reebok basketball shoes will be available for $115 tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. EST / 7:00 a.m. CST. Follow @Eastbay on Twitter and @OfficialEastbay on Instagram for all release information and updates.

Available 1/24: Reebok Q96 Cross Examine ‘Jadite’

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Reebok Answer 1 – ‘Camo’

Reebok Answer 1 – ‘Camo’

Reebok Answer 1 Camo (9)

words // Brandon Richard

With his game and personal style, Allen Iverson was alway about making a statement on and off the court. Though the official end of his NBA playing career is imminent, A.I.’s signature Reebok kicks are still being released in bold new styles sure to turn heads.

Next up, a fall-friendly ‘Camo’ colorway of the Reebok Answer 1 with a unique twist. The shoe sports a predominantly grey nubuck upper with orange and black accents throughout. Classic camouflage print appears on the inner lining and ripstop panels along the side and heel. A white midsole sits atop a blacked out DMX sole to complete the look below.

Pictured in detail here, these new Allen Iverson Reebok shoes will be available this Friday, October 4.

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