As positions continue to change and evolve in the NBA on a yearly basis, the center spot remains a constant where big, bruising 7-footers still dominate. Though centers don't always get the credit they deserve, the best do all the team's dirty work down low without complaining. Getting caught up in traffic and risking rolled ankles while chasing rebounds, centers need a durable, tough sneaker that provides optimal support and cushioning. Check out the best options for the upcoming season.
Peter Walsh is an Associate Producer for SiriusXM’s NBA Radio, an Editorial Assistant for SLAM Magazine, a News Writer for XXL, and freelances for various outlets including Nike and Complex. Follow him on Twitter and get familiar!
Nike Hyperdunk 2014
Worn By: Awaiting NBA Debut
Best Features: Dynamic Flywire
Nike's most reliable sneaker, the Hyperdunk is consistently the brand's non-signature sneaker on shelves. Impressing with its lightweight design and stability, the 2014 version of the Hyperdunk once again receives high marks for its durability, cushioning and its overall clean look. They Dynamic Flywire keeps the foot locked in, ideal for big men who fear rolling their ankle or injuring their feet when landing in a crowded paint area. Looking for a little more traction? cop the 2013 version of the sneaker for the low.
Nike Air Max Hyperposite
Worn By: Anthony Davis, Chris Bosh, David West, LaMarcus Aldridge
Best Features: 360 Max Air
A big, bulky sneaker, the Air Max Hyperposite is specifically engineered for big men. Fully equipped with Nike's best features, the sneaker is made of two of the best materials available for sneakers with a fuse and foam build. With a durable shell on the outside and 360 degrees of Max Air for supreme cushioning, the sneaker is a super comfortable, super protective pick. Plus, the shoe comes in an array of colorways and designs to suit all tastes.
Nike Hyper Quickness
Worn By: Jonas Valanciunas, Nikola Pekovic
Best Features: Affordability, Traction
Just by looking at some of the mammoth players who wear the sneaker (Jonas Valanciunas, Nikola Pekovic amongst others), it's obvious that the Hyper Quickness is a tough shoe. Affordable on just about any budget, true to fit size, and awesome traction to keep your pivot foot locked, the Hyper Quickness is perfect for those looking for a right-priced sneaker that will last the whole season.
adidas Crazy Quick 2
Worn By: Joakim Noah, Tim Duncan
Best Features: Techfit Inner
A surprising fixture on Joakim Noah and Tim Duncan last season, adidas' Crazy Quick 2 provides high top support and a Techfit inner to lock the foot in for safety. Designed for John Wall, the sneaker was a surprise look on big guys like Noah and Duncan but they likely favored the sneaker due to its light weight feel, traction and protection.
Nike KD V
Worn By: Al Jefferson, Greg Monroe
Best Features: Traction
Before opting to go with a guard friendly low-cut design with the KD 6 and 7, the KD V was a hit for all positions thanks to the high-top look. The KD V grades out high thanks to its traction, heel air and thick Zoom in the forefront. For those who are more concerned with performance than having the latest sneaker, the KD V is a great option. Plus, now that two more signature looks have come out in the line, the V can likely be found at outlets and around the web for a nice price.
Jordan Super.Fly 3
Worn By: Blake Griffin
Best Features: Flight Web Fit System
Designed for the likes of Blake Griffin, the Super.Fly 3 has Zoom Air in the forefront, Flight Plate tech, a Flight Web fit system and a padded achilles notch to protect the foot. Jordan has been on the forefront of sneaker innovation and design for decades now, so if you cop this shoe or the XX9, you are getting the best of the best when it comes to technology and design.
Nike Kobe 9
Worn By: Amare Stoudemire
Best Features: Traction / Full Flyknit
The Kobe 9 turned heads with its unique extra-high look and because Kobe wasn't the first player to debut the sneaker. While the sneaker definitely took some time to get used to cosmetically, performance-wise the shoe was top-notch from day one. The Kobe signature line has long been at the top of the game when it comes to cutting-edge design and the Kobe 9 is no different. A "high-top that plays like a low-top," the shoe features full Flyknit, amazing traction and a cushioning system similar to the Kobe 8.
Under Armour Anatomix Spawn
Worn By: DeAndre Jordan (Pre-Nike)
Best Features: Micro G / Unique Look
More or less UA's response to Nike's HyperDunk series, the Anatomix Spawn is a good choice for those who don't necessarily love the look or feel of Nikes. Under Armour's NBA roster consists of point guards, but the Anatomix Spawn has a high top design favored by big guys and the Micro G feature keeps the foot locked down and safe while big men battle in the paint.
Nike Hyperfuse 2014
Worn By: Awaiting NBA Debut
Best Features: Zoom Air
Disappointing with the 2012 and 2013 version of the Hyperfuse after a strong 2011 model, Nike looks to rebound with the 2014 version of the shoe. While the on-court debut of the sneaker awaits, leaks have revealed that the shoe comes equipped with Zoom Air for cushioning and, of course, Hyperfuse to keep the weight at a minimum. A favorite of guys like Dirk Nowitkzki and Greg Monroe, the 2014 edition of the Hyperfuse will likely be seen on big men across the NBA once again this season.
Nike Zoom Soldier VIII
Worn By: DeMarcus Cousins
Best Features: Power Flex Traction
Power Flex Traction is the best on the market and for fives who like to get up and down the court, the Zoom Soldier VIII is the pick. Perfect for versatile big men who like to camp out in the post and for those who like to catch the ball at the top of the key, turn and make a quick move to the hoop. LeBron favored the Zoom Soldier series last season and has already been seen in the Soldier VIII during preseason practices and considering Nike went all out designing the LeBron 12, the decision speaks to the comfort, protection and design of the Soldier VIII.