The release of Kobe Bryant's 11th signature sneaker spells the end of an era for the Swoosh's basketball division. The brand has even gone as far as to market it as Kobe Bryant's "final on-court sneaker," and it's clear that Bryant's departure is going to leave a huge void in Nike Basketball's starting lineup. However, today we're learning that Nike might already have a replacement in mind thanks to Nice Kicks' interview with the Nike Basketball Design Director and designer of the Kyrie 2, Leo Chang.
When asked how a player like Kyrie Irving fits in amongst Nike's other marquee names, Chang broke it down by playing style: "For us, from the footwear side, it made sense, because we have these silos that you'll every now and then see in a Nike store: Electric Quickness, Explosive Power and Dynamic Versatility."
"KD is in the middle, with the Dynamic Versatility. Explosive Power is of course LeBron, and Kobe at his pinnacle has really exemplified Electric Quickness. We felt like, 'Well, Kobe is going to retire, and obviously his game is very different now,'" Chang said.
That's where Irving came in as a clear contender to fill Bryant's long-held spot. "[Irving] exemplified that notion of speed in multi-directions. It was awesome to have that kind of player that could be one of the muses for that silo. It worked out great in that way," Chang said.
If you're worried that this will result in higher price points for Kyrie's sneakers going forward, don't fret, as Chang says Nike aims to keep prices affordable for the foreseeable future: "[Irving] wanted to make sure that the young athletes and the kids of the world can move along with him throughout his career. We're going to keep him there for awhile, and it's a balance of the portfolio, really."
You can read the complete interview with Chang at Nice Kicks now.