Is the true Center position gone? No, but like Hov would say, it’s just different. The days of the back to the basket big aren't over and neither is the need to for kicks that work for low-post play. Whether you’re an alley-oop catching Dwight Howard type, a shot blocker like Serge Ibaka or have a two-inch vertical, this is the list of kicks to choose from if you live in the paint.
No. 5 – Jordan Flight 45 Max
Key Technical Feature: Nike Air Unit, Sport specific traction patterned sole
Weight: 17.8 oz.
Believe it or not, before the camp outs, the re-sales and Instagram, people copped Jordans to play in them. As shocking as that sounds, Jordan Brand encourages consumers to once again think performance when buying the Jumpman. The Jordan Flight 45 Max are a step towards that, especially for bigs. The synthetic upper make for a durable shoe, while the polyurethane midsole and full-length Air Unit provide the cushion needed to take a heavy pounding.
No. 4 – adidas AdiPower Howard 3
Key Technical Feature: TORSION midfoot support, ALIVE Cushion Technology
Weight: 14.3 oz.
Despite the many jabs from Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard is the best big man in the game. While he’s not nimble like Olajuwon, as graceful as the Admiral or as Dominant as Shaq in his prime, he’s carved out a giant, present day niche with athleticism and power, a willingness to fight for rebounds and catch alley-oops after running the floor. The TORSION system is great for players that are constantly jumping to grab boards and catch lobs. The ALIVE cushioning feature, which molds to your foot for a personal fit, and the nubuck upper all combine to make a durable shoe for low post play.
No. 3 - adidas Ghost 2.0
Key Technical Feature: TORSION System, SPRINTWEB
Weight: 13.5 oz.
Similar to the AdiPower Howard 3’s, the adiZero Ghost 2.0 utilizes the TORSION system, which makes a lot of sense seeing as how both Howard and fellow Three Stripes big man, Serge Ibaka are both prime shot blockers. Maximizing your jump is key for both of these players, so that flexibility is needed to land without a stiff feel. Since Serge is a bit more streamline than Dwight, it makes sense that he’d opt for the shoe with SPRINTWEB technology in it, because it provides stability while for players on the move. Seriously, he’s one of the quickest bigs in the league. If you’re a big man who needs a flexible fit and you have a quick first step, this may be the shoe for you.
No. 2 – Nike Air Max Hyperaggressor
Key Technical Feature: Air Max unit, Hyperfuse construction, Herringbone outsole
Weight: 11.9 oz.
The Nike Air Max Hyperaggresor is a great big man shoe. It has qualities that stretch across the board: Lightweight, herringbone traction, Air Max units for stable yet soft fit. Just like Big Baby, they’re way more versatile than they appear on first glance. A face-up big man can utilize the traction patterns to get past defenders, while a player who plays eight-feet and in will need a shoe that provides a soft landing. In case you forgot, the Hyperaggresor made the best kicks for power forwards list, which reiterates how good for bigs it is.
No. 1 – Nike Hyperdunk 2012
Key Technical Feature: Lunarlon Midsole, FlyWire upper
Weight: 12.4 oz.
When we first started this series, the Nike Hyperdunk 2012 was called a utility shoe that has intangibles to fit every position. The fact is, of the 30 teams in the NBA, only four don’t have a big man who wears them (Yes, we counted. Please send aspirin). The Lunarlon midsole provides cushioning and stability which bigs of any type need. The FlyWire upper ensures a secure fit and the breathability of the sneakers make it (possibly) the best basketball shoe of 2012 for any player ranging from Kyrie Irving to Mirza Teletovic (google him. He’s in the league, we promise).