Ranking the best iconic NBA Christmas Day sneakers: Kobe 6 “Grinch” in a class of its own

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Kobe Bryant has the best Christmas sneaker. We can discuss sneakers until the end of time, but that’s not even for debate – the Kobe 6 Grinch is the best Christmas sneaker ever.

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Even though players wore special edition sneakers or Player Edition sneakers in Christmas Day games dating back to the ’90s, it wasn’t really until the NBA made the Christmas Day games list a showcase event. in 2008 that the Christmas Day sneaker revealed became a thing.

Sneakers companies have used it, using it as an opportunity to market their latest designs to the field at the feet of their biggest names.

While we could have included many notable sneakers worn on Christmas Day, we decided to keep this list from 2008 to the present day, and only the shoes that were signature models designed specifically with a Christmas theme, or patterns. signature who debuted on Christmas Day.

Honorable mentions

  • 2009 – Nike Zoom Kobe V ‘Chaos’
  • 2014 – Nike Kyrie 1 ‘Christmas’ PE
  • 2015 – Nike Kyrie 2 ‘Christmas’
  • 2017 – Kith x Nike LeBron 15

10) 2008 LeBron James – Nike LeBron James 6 ‘Chalk’

This isn’t a Christmas-themed sneaker – its inspiration comes from LeBron’s pre-game chalk ritual (sidebar: Who else’s the Cleveland version of that?), The LeBron 6 ‘Chalk’ debuted when the Cavs beat the Wizards 93-89 on Christmas Day in 2008.

The LeBron models didn’t really change the culture until the seventh iteration of the following season, but the 6 remains an underrated LeBron sneaker.

(NBA Getty Images)

9) 2010 Kevin Durant – Nike KD III ‘Christmas’

This was the year a ‘Christmas’ theme was incorporated into all three signature models, and Nike released a bunch of signature Christmas sneakers in 2010, but the only pair that was neither red nor green were the KDs. Bright yellow III by Kevin Durant.

The III doesn’t get the love the IV gets, but it’s certainly one of Durant’s most underrated sneakers.

(NBA Getty Images)

8) 2012 Dwyane Wade – Li Ning Way of Wade (two pairs in a match)

People were shocked when Dwyane Wade left Jordan Brand for Chinese company Li-Ning in September 2012. Why would Wade leave the biggest basketball brand for an unknown product? The truth was, Wade was looking to build his own empire (almost ten years later he has a lifetime contract with them).

For its Christmas Day debut with Li-Ning, the company decided to present two colourways from its new signature Way of Wade series. Wade wore a pair in each half.

Two are always better than one, right?

(NBA Getty Images)

7) 2015 Stephen Curry – Under Armor Curry 2 “Northern Lights”

The 2014-15 NBA season will undoubtedly be Steph Curry’s best individual season.

After a record-breaking performance in the regular season, he was at the peak of his powers – and his popularity. He led the league in jersey sales, received the most All-Star Game votes, and became the NBA’s first unanimous MVP in May. The Warriors would win their first token and a dynasty was born.

This period was when the craze for Under Armor Curry 2 swept across the United States as well. At one point, Chef Curry’s sneakers sold better than LeBron’s and even had his airness in sight (not really, but a little).

Steph got to unveil the Northern Lights for the Warriors’ Christmas Day clash with the Cavaliers.

(NBA Getty Images)

6) 2008 Kobe Bryant – Nike iD Zoom Kobe IV

You could tell it’s the year that started the full sneaker reveal on the Christmas wave in the NBA. Prior to 2008, there were only a few games scheduled each year, but in 2008 the NBA experimented with a full five-game roster.

Nike gave the 2007 NBA MVP a special Nike iD Player Exclusive make-up from the Zoom Kobe IV in the Lakers’ colors. Nike continued its uncompromising approach to marketing the sneaker by gifting 100 lucky fans in attendance a pair of Nike iD Zoom Kobe IV in a special red Nike duffel bag.

Oh, and the Lakers beat the Celtics 92-83 just to cap the day.

(NBA Getty Images)

5) 2011 Kobe Bryant – Nike Kobe VII ‘cheetah’

The NBA returned from an extended lockout and began a modified season with the Christmas Day game list. This gave Nike Basketball the opportunity to launch Kobe’s signature line and make a specific Christmas shoe for him at the same time.

Using Kobe’s love for the predatory spirit of alpha hunters like the cheetah, great white shark, and of course the black mamba snake, the VII was part of the Predator Pack released by Nike. However, surpassing the Kobe 6 Grinch from the previous Christmas with the Kobe VII Cheetah is like Michael Jackson’s post Thriller with Bad – still great, but not quite as punchy.

(NBA Getty Images)

4) 2011 Kevin Durant – Nike KD IV ‘Copper’

Kevin Durant and Nike absolutely owned the first part of the 2011 NBA season. Right after the release of the Weatherman and the Nerf edition of his new sneaker, Durant launched the Christmas version of his shoe, decked out in all copper on the day. Christmas 2011.

Much like the bright yellow colourway from the previous season, the copper had no direct correlation with Christmas celebrations, but it was inspired by Durant’s mother’s holiday baking.

The IV is widely regarded as Durant’s best sneaker in its line, and the copper knuckles are one of the most coveted by enthusiasts.

(NBA Getty Images)

3) 2009 – Nike LeBron 7 ‘Christmas’

This would end up being LeBron’s last Christmas sneaker of his first term with the Cavaliers, and at this point, it was his best. The VII rejuvenated the LeBron line and Nike opted for a full-length Air Max unit for the first time on James’s signature model.

The shoe even featured Christmas-themed insoles, one with a wrapped gift and the other displaying LeBron James as a child.

What helped make these shoes – and Kobe’s – memorable were the puppet-themed ads.

(NBA Getty Images)

2) 2010 LeBron James – Nike LeBron 8 V2 ‘Christmas’

These get second place simply because of the cultural impact of the LeBron 8. While the VII rejuvenated the line, it was James’ first signature sneaker as a member of the Miami Heat. The South Beach colorway had already become one of the most coveted colorways, and when the NBA scheduled the Heatles and Lakers on Christmas Day, you already knew Nike would bring the heat – forgive the pun.

LeBron unveiled the V2 trim on the 8 for the first time, while Kobe rocked what is considered one of his best shoes ever.

Dressed in red with a mostly solid upper and a dash of speckling on the midsole, the V2 Christmas just looked great.

The Heat won the game 96-80, and King James landed a triple-double, but what held up the most was the quality of the sneakers on display that day.

(NBA Getty Images)

1) 2010 Kobe Bryant – Nike Kobe 6 ‘Grinch’

Definitely number one on any Christmas sneaker list.

When the late great Kobe Bryant launched this shoe on Christmas Day in 2010, it did more than just turn sneaker culture upside down. This marked the peak of the Christmas Day sneaker reveal.

Kobe rocked a number of different colorways of the Kobe 6 throughout the 2010-11 season, but on Christmas Day the stage was set perfectly – the defending Lakers champions took on the newly formed Miami Heat super team with LeBron. James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Each person sitting on the court received a special gift bag which also included the bright green Kobes.

(NBA Getty Images)

Nike’s marketing for this shoe was elite. The nickname “Grinch” comes from blogs and sneaker forums that nicknamed him for his resemblance to the infamous character Dr. Seuss who tried to ruin the vacation. Nike’s official name was ‘Green Mamba’ due to the shoe’s inspiration coming from the animal of the same name and the upper that mimicked snakeskin. Designed by Eric Avar, the Kobe 6 Grinch was the perfect combination of design and storytelling.

The shoe received the retro treatment – or Protro, as Kobe called it – in 2020, and instantly sold out on Nike’s website. The original 2010 pair sells for north of $ 1,400 on StockX, while the newer retro sells for a starting price of $ 399.

Even though the Heat came away with a 96-80 win that night and Bryant shot just 6 of 16 from the field, the lasting images are of Kobe’s bright green shoes.

Ten Christmases have passed since then, and the impact is tangible throughout the NBA. Players still wear the Kobe Grinch 6 on the court.


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