While rehabilitating from his injury, many speculated it was due to Bryant’s reputation for playing in low-top sneakers, so sneakerheads and basketball aficionados were eager to see what the Kobe 9 would look like. As the 4 pushed the basketball sneaker industry with it being a fully functional sneaker for being low to the ground, the 9 once again made the impossible possible. Bryant attended a Manny Pacquiao workout and was intrigued at the way Pacquiao was able to move inside the ring with a high-top sneaker. And thus the inspiration for Kobe 9 was born. Avar created a boot-like sneaker, equipped with Flyknit, another first for a first in a basketball shoe, that was seen as a high-top but functioned as a low-top. Three different versions of the Kobe 9 were created – an Elite version, a non-Elite version and a low-top model that substituted Engineered Mesh for Flyknit. One of the cool distinctions about the sneaker was the nine red stitches featured on the back of the sneakers.