The NBA sneaker world is always evolving and changing as new signature sneakers are released each year for the top stars in the game (and as guys like P.J. Tucker break out increasingly insane and rare sneakers for game play). Each sneaker company has a hierarchy within its NBA staff list, with those that have their own signature sneakers at the top, followed by those that are their top ambassadors for their general basketball sneakers, and then the rest of their signees who simply are asked to wear any of the shoes from that company.
Nike holds the largest market share of NBA players, but only four current players have their own signature line: LeBron James, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant (with Giannis Antetokounmpo to come soon). Others, like Anthony Davis and Draymond Green, get player exclusives of the Air Max Dominate, the Hyperdunk, or a different Nike basketball shoe that isn’t technically a signature. Adidas has James Harden, Damian Lillard, and Derrick Rose with signatures, while Andrew Wiggins is the posterchild for the Crazy Explosive. Under Armour’s lone signature is for Steph Curry, while Jordan has Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony signatures, with the rest of their signees wearing PEs.
Basically, of the four major sneaker manufacturers in the U.S., only 11 players have signature sneakers (this obviously doesn’t include overseas companies like Anta and Peak), which means a lot of NBA players are wearing someone else’s shoe. ESPN offered a breakdown of the seven most popular signature sneakers on the court this past season in the NBA, and George comes out on top with his PG1 being worn by 42 players (the PG2 doesn’t make the list), only because the Kyrie 3 and Kyrie 4 split up the 54 players that wear his line.
The Dame 4 is the most popular of the adidas sneakers, while most of the Under Armour crew rocked the Curry 4s this season. It’s interesting to see how players aren’t always easily swayed by the newest sneaker on the market, even within the line they support. The PG2 has clearly not gained traction the way the PG1 did, which immediately became a player favorite when it hit the market. The split between Kyrie 3s and Kyrie 4s shows how many weren’t ready to give up the 3s (which are among the most comfortable hoops shoes of all-time for this writer).
Also, it’s notable that LeBron’s Soldier XI was more popular than his LeBron 15, even though that popularity is undoubtedly flipped among the public. It will be interesting to see if the PG3 tries to go back to something closer to the model of the PG1 in recognition of the incredible amount of popularity that sneaker received, as well as what the Kyrie 5 will look like given how much players have flocked to that line.