8. Kobe Bryant, adidas

Year: 1996

Shoe: adidas Equipment Elevation

Was the kid ready? Maybe not. But from the moment Kobe Bryant put his sunglasses atop his head and announced he was going straight from Lower Merion High School to the NBA, he was the golden child. Jerry West hand-picked him to be a Laker, and Sonny Vaccaro — the one-time champion of Michael Jordan — got him into adidas. The proper signature shoes wouldn't come right away, but a slam-dunk title got him respect — and a great ad.