Image via Nice Kicks
Image via Nice Kicks

“Yeah, I got on sneakers, but I need a new pair, ‘cause basketball courts in the summer got girls there.” The Fresh Prince knew what was up. Instead of hitting the outdoor courts in your snow and salt-stained beaters from last winter, consider one of these upcoming releases. Whether you’re into mega-hyped limited releases, classic retros that can still hold their own, or just all-around reliable performers, there’s something for everyone this summer.

Check out the details behind the debut of the Nike Hyperdunk 2014, the first adidas Boost basketball model, and more with The 10 Most Anticipated Basketball Releases of the Summer.

Riley Jones is a freelance writer from Charlottesville, VA and a contributor to Sneaker Report. With an unshakable affinity for basketball and all things pop culture, he can be found on Twitter @rchrstphr.

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Image via @peace0520
Image via @peace0520

No. 10 – Kobe 9 EM “University Blue”

Release date: July 25

Dropping at the end of the month is the Kobe 9 EM “University Blue.” Although the EM model has recently been overshadowed by the Kobe 9 Elite Low, the Swoosh isn’t done churning out bold graphic treatments on this Engineered Mesh beauty. UNC and Thunder fans alike will want to mark their calendars for this July 25th drop.

Image via High Snobiety
Image via High Snobiety

No. 9 - Nike Air Raid “Peace”

Release date: July 26

Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t recommend early ‘90s retro for modern use, but the Air Raid is anything but normal. Originally designed with outdoor ball in mind (complete with “For Outdoor Use Only” embossing on the heel), the Air Raid is still a tough performer in 2014. Its durable outsole and Air Jordan VIII-like lockdown straps make it ideal for big men, while mesh paneling keeps the Air Raid breathable in the heat.

Image via Xclusive 23
Image via Xclusive 23

No. 8 – Air Jordan XIV “Sport Blue”

Release date: August 2

If you insist on balling in retro Jordans, the XIV is one of, if not the, best options available. Unlike many retro releases, the technology in the AJXIV has managed to withstand the test of time. The heel and forefoot Zoom Air cushioning remain, and the sleek, low-profile design is perfectly suited for summer ball. This "Sport Blue" variation will look just as good with a matching uniform as it will with jeans.

Image via Nike
Image via Nike

No. 7 - Nike KD 7 “Calm Before the Storm”

Release date: August 16

KD’s latest sig has already touched down in the Independence Day and vibrant "35K Degrees" themed colorways, and next up is the sealthy "Calm Before the Storm" makeup. Leo Chang's latest design with the low profile of the KD 6 and brings back the midfoot strap from the KD 2 and KD 4 models, which many fans had been clamoring for. Elsewhere, a sturdy Hyperposite construction with mesh in the forefoot area adds a balance of supportive strength and breathable flexibility, while a visible heel Zoom Air unit will keep players cushioned and moving forward.

Image via Nike
Image via Nike

No. 6 – Nike Kobe 9 Elite Low "Beethoven"

Release date: August 16

Built with the same explosive technology as the high top Kobe 9 Elite, this low top variation is perfect for summer. With a breezy Flyknit upper and cool grey hues, they'll work just as well on the hardwood as they will on the asphalt. If you're not quite prepared to drop $245 on your very on Nike iD design, we recommend holding out for this crispy "Beethoven" makeup, which will retail for $200 on August 16. 

Image via @sneakergaga
Image via @sneakergaga

No. 5 – Reebok Question Mid "Black/White-Red-Royal"

Release date: August 15

Last year, Reebok updated their classic Question Mid model with the Q96 Crossexamine, but sometimes there's just nothing like the original. Thankfully, for Iverson loyalists, the model once again be returning in original form this August. This black-based variation would've been perfect with the Philadelphia 76ers' road jerseys, but they'll also match easily with a variety of gear this summer.

Image via Hupu
Image via Hupu

No. 4 – adidas Crazy Light Boost (aka Crazy Light 4)

Release date: Summer 2014

Although we’re still awaiting details on the Crazy Light Boost, what we know so far has us on the edge of our seats.  We’re talking Boost cushioning on the hardwood, exotic printed uppers, and a Damian Lillard co-sign. Keep it locked here for further info on the Crazy Light Boost.

Image via Baseball Express
Image via Baseball Express

No. 3 – Under Armour Clutchfit Drive

Release date: Summer 2014

Recently endorsed by the sharp-shooting Stephen Curry, the UA Clutchfit Drive is one of the most intriguing upcoming models we’ve seen. While the brand’s second skin-like Clutchfit technology has been seen on other models, this marks the first time it’s been applied to a basketball sneaker. Combine that with full-length Micro G cushioning and this very well could be UA’s next winner.

Image via Hupu
Image via Hupu

No. 2 – adidas D Rose 5

Release date: Summer 2014

Derrick Rose has been practicing with the Bulls this week, and if all goes well, he could be returning to action in one of the most anticipated drops of the summer. While the Crazy Light Boost features a segment of Boost cushioning in the heel, the D Rose 5 looks to up the ante with an enlarged Boost setup. The D Rose 5's clean design and on-trend colorways will also add some casual potential, so don't be surprised to see these in school hallways and campuses just as frequently as  the hardwood.

Image via Nice Kicks
Image via Nice Kicks

No. 1 – Nike LeBron 11 “What the LeBron”

Release date: TBD

Beginning with Nike SB’s “What the Dunk” in 2007, the Swoosh introduced a Frankenstein theme that would induce frenzy for years to come. Since then, we’ve seen it applied to signature models from King James, KD, and Kobe, but none of them have had the mystique of the LeBron 11. Originally slotted for a late May release, details surrounding the “What the LeBron” are scarce, but rest assured we'll update you as soon as we get a confirmed date.

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