How Kobe Bryant Was Pivotal in Influencing Sneaker Culture in the NBA

Published 10/15/2021, 2:30 PM EDT
LOS ANGELES, CA, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2014 – Lakers guard Kobe Bryant catches his breath during a break in the action against the Rockets at Staples Center. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Very few players have managed to influence the game of basketball like Kobe Bryant. The Lakers legend was a maverick during his days, and is widely referred to as one of the sport’s greatest ever player. Aside from his on-court achievements, Kobe has also impacted various zones off the court. In fact, the late legend was influential in popularizing a whole brand of sneakers too.

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Lakers‘ eternal #24 will always be remembered for his valuable performances for the franchise. He single-handedly led the squad to multiple titles, and is famous for his ‘Mamba mentality’. Under him, the Lakers evolved into one of the most fearless and determined sides in the history of the NBA. Yet, Kobe lost his life in early 2020 due to a plane crash. However, his immense contributions will be cherished forever. Today, we take a look at how Kobe influenced sneaker culture in basketball.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 05: Kobe Bryant attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards Nominee Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 5, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant and his impact on sneaker culture

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Over the years, many superstars have set as well as broken trends in the league. The likes of Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Gilbert Arenas, Steve Nash and Stephen Curry are among the big trend-setters. But long ago, Kobe popularized a type of footwear that not many were willing to wear. These were the low shoes. However, the 18-time All-star made these shoes go viral all over the world.

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Discussing Kobe’s influence on sneaker culture over time, Aaron Dodson and Nick DePaula revealed how big the Laker was for its popularity. On ‘The Undefeated’, Dodson quoted, “Kobe made it cool to wear lows. Obviously Gilbert Arenas and Steve Nash were wearing lows little bit before Kobe but he’s the one that glamorized it and made it cool. He made it universal in basketball for players to you know break out low tops.” Following this, DePaula went on to talk about how methodical Kobe was with regard to the technology and design of the boots.

Lakers Kobe Bryant waits for his introduction before a game against the Nets at the Staples Center Sunday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The great Kobe Bryant and his untouchable personality will forever be etched in our hearts. A soul gone too soon, all we can do is thank him for the marks he has left on the sport. Never again will there be such a fierce competitor and true gentleman, both in one. Mamba forever!

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

432 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a Tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football and table tennis. Sankalp idolises Roger Federer and Stephen Curry, and has an inherent love for statistics.

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