Where we last left off in the story of Kobe Bryant’s 20 Year Sneaker Legacy, the Black Mamba had just completed his year of legendary sneaker free agency, signing a deal with Nike during the summer of 2003. Thirteen years later, we all know how important this deal was, as the partnership between Kobe and designer Eric Avar would change the way most basketball sneakers are designed and constructed today. The most revolutionary model to date in the Nike Kobe line would obviously be the Zoom Kobe IV, which re-introduced the low-top as a formidable option on the basketball court. But before we get to the low-tops, let’s take a look at the first chapter of Kobe’s tenure with Nike.
Much like his sneaker free agency, Kobe’s early Nike days were filled with PE colorways of some already existing Nike models. It wouldn’t be until his third season with Nike that his first signature sneaker was released, the Nike Zoom Kobe I. In this look back at Kobe Bryant’s monumental sneaker career, we’ll recap the early Nike years and pre-low-top era, documenting every model he wore in the first five seasons of one of the most crucial partnerships in sneaker history.