No. 10 — Peyton Siva
Stats: 15 Points, 7 Assists, 5 Rebounds
Game: 3/11/2011 W (OT) vs. Notre Dame
The 2011 Big East Semifinals was a huge moment for Peyton Siva. Even though he played big minutes as a freshman, Siva’s sophomore year saw him take the true role of leader now that Edgar Sosa graduated. Lifting his Cardinals past Big East POY Ben Hansborough and into the finals stamped Siva as a legit presence on the college scene. He foulded out in overtime but his 15 points, scored on hesitation moves and drives to the lane reinforced by the classic herringbone traction patterns on the outsole, and seven assists before exiting with a little under four minutes left to play.
No. 9 — Michael Beasley
Stats: 18 Points, 7 Rebounds
Game: 3/18/2011 L vs. LA Lakers
Michael Beasley’s first year in Minnesota was statistically his best. Paired with Kevin Love, the two looked like a duo the Timberwolves could build around for the near future. Fast forward two seasons and Love is an All-Star and Olympic Champion, and Beasley has been exiled to his third team in Phoenix. Sometimes you just never know which Beasley you’re going to get. But on this night, Beas looked like the all-star he could be. The rugged leather upper was built for the hard-nosed 90’s style that Beasley plays with. When he plays.
No. 8 — Wesley Johnson
Stats: 29 Points, 4 Rebounds, 3 Steals
Game: 3/18/2011 L vs. LA Lakers
When Wesley Johnson hit the league, he was (is) considered a tweener. Too quick for forwards, but not quite the handle of a guard. Playing in the Crazy 8’s in a way mirrored his game, as they’re a bit of a bridge between the technology of the 90’s and the feel of today. They weight a little over 15 ounces which would be considered heavy by todays standards, but was leaning towards lighter for its time. Plus, the EVA foam that adidas is known for, still performs well in new models. Johnson was clearly comfortable in them since he scored his career-high 29 points facing a playoff bound Laker team.
No. 7 — Jrue Holiday
Stats: 24 Points, 12 Assists
Game: 3/30/2011 W vs. Houston
Jrue Holiday may have been selected to his first all-star game this year, but that respect around the league took time to build. Philadelphia takes one step forward and two steps back when it comes to developing as a program, but Holiday’s been a constant positive factor since Philly drafted him in 2009. His instantly effective point guard play lead to the Sixers making the playoffs against Miami and being outfitted by the Three Stripes in their classic Crazy 8. Holiday likes to set up his defender by lulling them to sleep on the perimeter and then making his way to the rim. The Herringbone traction patterns and the EVA foam give him just the right feel to do that effectively.
No. 6 — Kobe Bryant
Stats: 23 Points, 5 Assists
After a rookie season that him sit the bench, Kobe took his second season as a chance to prove he belonged. He’d be voted by the fans to his first all-star game in the 1997-98 season, but before that he needed to make a statement. So, first game of the season against the team that knocked him out of the playoffs, wearing his new signature kicks that are catered to him with “feet you wear” technology. A feature that enabled bryant to move securely and attack strong long before he’d have a shoe with that slogan? Yeah, Kobe was ready to take on the world.
No. 5 — Derrick Rose
Stats: 26 Points, 6 Assists, 5 Rebounds
Game: 2/24/2011 W vs. Miami Heat
Derrick Rose is known for being relatively quiet, so he makes it count whenever he says something publicly. At the start of the 2010-11 NBA season (only his third), he told everyone he’d win the league MVP—and then he did it. Smack in the middle of LeBron’s accession to the crown, Rose will forever be the asterisk that kept Bron-Bron from winning four straight MVP’s. The second time the Bulls met the Heat, Rose broke out the Crazy 8’s. Breaking away from his signature shoe, the Crazy 8’s fit his game because of it’s use of the Torsion System which allows Rose’s foot to move naturally and the leather upper is perfect for a guard who attacks the rim as aggressively as the Chicago superstar does.
No. 4 — Kobe Bryant
Stats: 30 Points
Game: 12/14/1997 W vs. Dallas
Everyone remembers Kobe dropping 33 on MJ when he was 19, but he scored his first 30 point game three days prior in win against Dallas. It may be a bit unheralded, but Bryant would go on to put up a 30-piece 391 more times (and counting) putting him fifth all-time on the list of 30-point games. Playing in his first signature shoe, with its EVA midsole to brace the young, high-flying second year star's landings when he dunked and elevated on jumpers, Bryant set a bar for himself that he’s managed to live up to 16 seasons later.
No. 3 — Kobe Bryant
Stats: 19 Points, 6 Rebounds, 2 Steals
Game: 2/8/1998 L @ Eastern Conference All-Stars
This was Kobe’s moment. Playing in his first All-Star Game, at Madison Square Garden, paired against Michael Jordan. What more could the ambitious youngster want? Rocking his signature shoes with the Feet You Wear technology (an outsole with strategically placed herringbone traction) designed to give its wearer optimal support, Bryant was on the attack and had a memorable dunk that will live forever on his highlight reel.
No. 2 — Kobe Bryant
Stats: 33 Points
Game: 12/17/1997 L @ Chicago
There’s always the “what if?” when it comes to matchups between today’s greats and MJ, but Kobe’s one of the few superstars left who got a chance to test himself against the best to ever to do it. When Kobe entered the league there were whispers about how great he could be. When he dropped 33 points on MJ in Chicago, it was his way of proclaiming it. Propelled by youth, Kobe was able to beat Jordan off the dribble by utilizing the feet you wear technology’s function of gripping the hardwood for the last edge needed to attack the rim. Bryant hans’t looked back since.
No.1 — Kobe Bryant
Stats: 6 Points
Game: 5/24/1998 L vs. Utah
Before the titles, the nicknames and the worldwide notoriety, Kobe Bryant was a 19-year-old second year sixth man trying to make his name in the NBA. A year prior, facing the same Utah Jazz, Kobe shot airballs that would've put him on another level had they went down. Instead, they missed and he faced ridicule. This time, Kobe would only score six points in 19 minutes of play. This was his turning point. The next season, he’d crack the starting lineup, drop 25-10 the first game of the season (his first career double-double) and even though LA would suffer one more sweep at the hands of eventual 1999 champion San Antonio Spurs, it only took two more seasons for Bryant to reach the mountain top.
But everything, the fame, the respect, the fearlessness, everything, started with Kobe in the Crazy 8’s.