For Sole Collector's 48th Issue, Kobe Bryant talks about the direction of his sneaker line after his retirement from the NBA. This is the Black Mamba's last season professionally, and we all have to savor these moments as they pass. Not to mention, this will be Kobe's last NBA All-Star Game in Toronto this year, all which is part of his farewell.
But we all know of Kobe's will - he's not walking away from the game completely.
Nike and Kobe have evolved the footwear game for athletes, and now the swoosh architects are looking to continue to do just that for years to come. We all know that when a superstar player retires from the game, their sneakers usually get really interesting. And not in a good way. Take a look at Air Jordan's collection... Need we say more about his collection when he stepped down.
Read the excerpted interview segment below, and head over to Sole Collector's website for the full discussion.
SC: How’s it feel to unveil your last signature sneaker before retiring?
KB: It feels great, man. I’m very proud of the history that we’ve created while I’ve been playing. It’s a great feeling. I’ve put in a lot of work.
SC: Over the 11 years you’ve worked with Nike, is there a sneaker in particular that you’re proud of?
KB: It’s hard to say. Each, for that moment in time, was extremely innovative, so it’s hard to pinpoint one in particular. I think the one that was the most courageous leap was going to the low with the 4. That was the bravest thing. I remember having to go speak to buyers and having to explain to them why I’m going low, from an innovation standpoint, from an athlete performance standpoint, and the things we put into the shoe, like heel lock, that actually make the shoe safer than a high top. That was one of the more courageous leaps. It was one of those things where if it succeeds, it’s going to be industry changing, and if it fails, we’re going to be up shit creek.
SC: Where do you see the Kobe line going after you retire?
KB: We’ll remain extremely consistent with what we’ve been doing, which is creating innovative products that help athletes be the best versions of themselves. That’s not going to change. I don’t focus on how fashion changes. I only focus on creating innovative product. Hopefully the consumer knows by now that if you’re buying a Kobe product, you’re buying something that’s been thought through. We pay attention to detail all the way through. You’re buying something that’s going to help you perform better. That’s not going to stop.
SC: So you’re saying there’s going to be a Nike Kobe 12, 13 and so forth?
KB: Absolutely. We’ll continue to evolve. We’re going to continue to push and the line will keep growing.