Kobe Bryant is a year removed from his playing career, but the superstar still has a major presence on the court during nearly every NBA game by way of his signature sneaker. Sneaker companies are always vying for the prime real estate that is the feet of NBA players and while adidas has made significant inroads in recent years and just pushed past Jordan on the sneaker market for No. 2, Nike continues to dominate.
According to a recent study by Versus Reviews, 64 percent of NBA players (334 total) wear Nike sneakers on the court, with 17.7 percent in adidas (92 total) and 9.8 percent in Jordan (51 total) — Under Armour is at 3.5 percent (18 total). No fan that watches the NBA would be surprised by that breakdown, as you see the vast majority of players running around with Swooshes on the sides of their feet.
What’s more interesting, at least to me, is the breakdown of what signature shoes are the most popular among NBA players. That would seem to say a lot about the look and feel of a sneaker, that those that don’t have a signature would choose to play in it. At the top of the list of the 15 most popular individual sneakers are the Kobe A.D.’s, as Bryant’s low tops have become a favorite of players around the league.
The Hyperdunk landing at No. 2 isn’t much of a surprise either, as that line has long been attached to Nike’s secondary stars, especially the big men like Draymond Green and Al Horford. However, what does come as a bit of a surprise is Paul George’s sneaker, the PG 1, landing at No. 3 on the list in its first year on the market, a testament to the quality of his shoe’s first design. LeBron’s sneaker is a bit lower on the list than one might expect, considering it’s the most popular signature shoe on the market, while the Kyrie 3 and Kyrie 2 are fairly evenly split with 16 and 12 players rocking the new Celtics point guards sneakers.
Only the Crazy Explosive and Crazylight Boost 2016 land on the list for adidas, as the Hardens, Roses, and Lillards have yet to quite find their niche within the NBA — although, as more college teams get adidas sponsorships that number could increase soon. There’s also a list of which players sneakers, any year or design, are the most popular, and once again Kobe tops the list, just ahead of Jordan — which includes the Melos and CP3s as well — with James and Kyrie coming in just behind.
Here you can see that Lillard has the most popular adidas signature line, edging out Rose, and Harden’s absence is fairly surprising. How this list changes as Paul George and Kyrie Irving continue to build their line of signatures will be very interesting to watch, to see if there will be more defectors from the Kobe, LeBron, and Durant stables.