Kobe Bryant’s remarkable impact on the game of basketball also applied to footwear design. Throughout his career, Kobe pushed Nike Basketball to explore the competitive advantages gained through low-profile, highly-responsive design. It was an aspirational challenge as much as it was a technical one.
“Every game, I write on my shoes, ‘Be Legendary,’ which is what Kobe signed on my shoes back in 2016,” says Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker. “He’s had an impact on my life that no one’s ever had, and probably no one ever will have again. He taught me to ask myself, ‘What am I doing here if I’m not trying to be the best at it?’ That not just a basketball quote. That’s a life quote for me.”
Booker is far from alone in his admiration for Bryant. From Sabrina Ionescu, guard for the New York Liberty: “The beauty of basketball, for me, is that it’s a sport you can never perfect. What made Kobe great was that he wasn’t scared to try new things, because that risk of failure is where you grow. Kobe tried to perfect everything about his game, from the way he played to the way he approached the game.”