Either way, as this season rolls on and the supplies of the remaining Kobes begin to dwindle with no replacements, the demand for the late Hall of Famer’s beloved shoe design will only increase. In a time when some players are dabbling in cryptocurrency investments, there might be a new exchange developing as more players get desperate. “I’ve always had so many pairs, but I’m looking at them differently now. Guys are asking me [for them], but I can’t go through them like I did,” DeRozan says. “If it gets bad, I may have to even go to my secret vault.”
"If you weren't in on them for the last few years," says DeRozan, a longtime Kobe model enthusiast, "you're having a tough time." Kobes are now considered "deadstock," taking them into a vintage market that ups the ante. NBA players have chased deadstock shoes for years, often to add to their collections to wear or display off the court. Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker is known for wearing high-end vintage models in games, but he's an outlier.
The current situation around Kobes is a whole new game, even for players paid to wear Nikes. Giddey, who signed a multiyear deal with Nike before the season, and players like him are spending more than $1,500 on pairs of Kobes right now as they try to stock up for this season and beyond. Their agents are sniffing around for them, calling in favors and hunting the secondary market for their clients, but without much success. "I've had a few guys reach out to me for help," says Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker said. "I'll never run out of Kobes."
The rumors of the end of the Bryant family agreement with Nike started circulating last season before becoming official in April. Nike reps quietly told team equipment managers to prepare their Kobe guys for an end. "Some of us got the word, and we started hoarding them," says Suns forward Jae Crowder. "By the time the news came out, I had banked up enough for about two years."
November 30, 2021 | 1:37 pm EST Update
Mike Trudell: Update on Avery Bradley: an MRI in Sacramento on Monday night revealed a UCL sprain of right thumb. Bradley will go through further medical testing when the team returns to Los Angeles following Tuesday night’s game.
Rylan Stiles: Mark Daigneault calls Theo Maledon “a better player overall than he was last year.” Says “he will be going back to the Blue, he needs those reps.” Adds “he needs those reps, it’ll come back around to him just like it did for Isaiah last night.”
Rylan Stiles: Ty Jerome says playing the same team you just lost to is a dream scenario because you always “want another crack” at that team. OKC looks to snap their losing skid against Houston on Wednesday.
NBA forward and sneakerhead P.J. Tucker is honoring fashion icon Virgil Abloh with his shoe choice for Monday night’s game … rocking a pair of Off-White Jordan 5s with a special tribute. The Heat baller showed off the kicks prior to taking the court against the Denver Nuggets … which have messages etched in Sharpie — “Thanks for a lifetime of inspiration” and “Virgil will always be here.”