Basketball players are regularly breaking out the latest performance sneakers, and the best of them are even be lucky enough to have their own signature shoe. In rare occurrences, the unwritten rule of the game is broken and players wear footwear that isn't designed specifically for contemporary basketball. There are guys like Rasheed Wallace, who continues to wear the retro Nike Air Force 1, utilizing technology that is three decades old. Then there's players who step away from basketball shoes altogether and go for something more interesting. The most popular non-basketball sneaker for college and pro courts is the crosstrainer, which is understandable since Tinker Hatfield first invented the style as a multipurpose shoe which would be suitable for basketball, running, and other gym activities.
Most recently, stars like Nate Robinson and Iman Shumpert have been spotted in limited and sought-after collabs, just to switch into more performance-driven footwear for the remainder of the game. Robinson showed off his Yeezys, while Shumpert flaunted the adidas x Jeremy Scott JS Bear, both obviously not made for the court. But these aren't the only examples that will surprise you. What follows is a selection of some of the surprisingly productive examples of players in non-basketball sneakers throughout the years.
Riley Jones is a journalism student from Charlottesville, VA. With an unshakable affinity for basketball and all things '90s, he can be found on Twitter @rchrstphr.
No. 5 - Andray Blatche x "Silver Bullet" Nike Zoom Huarache TR
Date: 02/09/11 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Notable Moment: Twelve points and eight rebounds made Blatche just as versatile as these crosstrainers.
Nike's Huarache line has always been well-received by basketball players, but this trainer variation wasn't intended to be worn on the hardwood. Regardless, the 2010 Nike Zoom Huarache Trainer was a hit across the boards, scoring with players and sneakerheads alike. An update to the original Huarache Trainer from the '90s, this version was tweaked with new performance traits like Zoom Air cushioning, a breathable Torch sockliner, and new materials. The Nike Zoom Huarache TR received a considerable amount of love on NBA courts, getting play time from Amar'e Stoudemire, Courtney Lee, Gilbert Arenas, and Washington's Andray Blatche (pictured).
No. 4 - John Stockton x Nike Air Zoom Challenge
Date: 03/17/97 vs. Charlotte Hornets
Notable Moment: Usually known for his passing, Stockton exploded in these Agassi's for 23 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds.
This 1996 model was actually Andre Agassi's signature shoe at the time. Utilizing Zoom Air, which has remained popular on the hardwood, and a court-friendly traction pattern, there's no question why the all-time NBA assists leader chose this speedy trainer.
No. 3 - John Wallace x Nike Air Max Speed Turf
Date: 03/31/96 vs. Mississippi State
Notable Moment: Wallace put up 21 points in these crosstrainers made famous by NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino.
The Nike Air Max Speed Turf was popular in the NFL during the '90s when fields were made of Astro Turf. Due to the density of the artificial turf, players were able to wear crosstrainers and basketball sneakers without cleats, something you'd never see in today's atmosphere. But the Air Max Speed Turf also got some love on NCAA Basketball courts thanks to John Wallace, who led Syracuse to a National Championship in 1996 but had a disappointing career in the NBA.
No. 2 - Amar'e Stoudemire x "STAT" Nike Zoom Huarache TR
Date: 12/25/10 vs. Chicago Bulls
Notable Moment: Ruling the court with an all around stellar performance: 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 blocks in a custom pair of Huarache Trainers.
Before Nike hooked Amar'e up with his own NY-themed basketball models, he turned heads in these Zoom Huarache Trainers. Amar'e clearly enjoyed the Zoom Air cushioning and lightweight feel, because he wore them for months in three different Knicks colorways.
No. 1 - Gilbert Arenas x D&G Velcro Strap Patent High
Date: 12/07/10 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Notable Moment: Scoring 23 points in the NBA while wearing a high-end designer sneaker is all that needs to be said.
When Gilbert Arenas strapped up these $395 Dolce & Gabanna luxury high tops in 2010, they were by far the most unexpected sneaker to ever hit a basketball court. Gilbert would spend the entire season switching up his footwear, even rocking the Nike Zoom Huarache Trainer and Nike SC Trainer Retro on occasion.