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No. 1 – Air Zoom Generation “First Game”
With LeBron’s Cleveland homecoming just around the corner, there’s no better time to take it back to where it all started. The burgundy and white hits of the “First Game” Air Zoom Generation would add a subtle yet instantly recognizable touch to the King’s latest. Since we’re still waiting on an actual AZG retro, these would be perfect to hold us over.
No. 2 – Zoom LeBron II “Dunkman”
These days, every LeBron model gets a “Dunkman” themed release, but these neon accented colorways were much harder to come by in the line’s early days. The Zoom LeBron II “Dunkman” PE was particularly rare, and now it sits atop the grail lists of many LeBron collectors. While a retro release is improbable, we’d like to see them step away from the dark grey and silver Dunkman releases with this white based rendition of the LeBron 12.
No. 3 – Zoom LeBron 20-5-5 “USA”
Before the Zoom Soldier, there was the Zoom 20-5-5. This takedown model was no slouch on the courts, and was worn by the King during the 2006 FIBA World Championship and a handful of NBA games. The rugged model was designed with outdoor hoops in mind, and its white and navy USA theme seems like an obvious choice for the equally durable LeBron 12.
No. 4 – Zoom LeBron IV “Fruity Pebbles”
The Zoom LeBron IV saw another collection of ultra-exclusive Friends and Family releases, and the memorable “Fruity Pebbles” makeup was the star of the pack. Instead of emphasizing the multicolored pattern, how dope would it look to keep it minimal on the midsole, with the rest of the Megafuse and Hyperposite upper getting a clean white treatment? Sometimes less is more.
No. 5 – Zoom LeBron V “Yankees”
The King has never been shy about his love for the New York Yankees, and in 2008, Nike released a special pinstriped version of the Zoom LeBron V to commemorate the start of the MLB season. Like many of the best colorways, these were released in limited numbers, but we’d love to see Nike Basketball revive the concept on the LeBron 12.
No. 6 – Zoom LeBron VI “Big Apple”
Red sneakers are all the rage these days, which means it’s the perfect time to bring back the NYC flavored “Big Apple” colorway. First seen on the Zoom LeBron VI, this candy red makeup would shine brighter than ever on the Hyperposite of the LeBron 12.
No. 7 – Air Max LeBron VII “Hardwood Classic”
Before the King’s sigs hit Nike iD with the LeBron IX, colorways like the Knicks inspired Hardwood Classics LeBron VII were beyond the reach of many collectors. Instead of relying on the limitations of Nike iD, we’d love to see a proper orange, blue, and white homage to one of the best LeBrons of all time.
No. 8 – Air Max LeBron VIII “Pre-Heat”
C’mon, you knew this one was coming. Whether you call ‘em the South Beaches, the Pre-Heats, or the Miami Vices, there’s no getting around the fact that the original teal and pink VIII completely changed the way people looked at the LeBron line. All of a sudden, hypebeasts and collectors were getting in on the action, and it’s never been the same since.
No. 9 – LeBron IX “Cannon”
The LeBron IX “Cannon” may very well be the most slept on colorway in the King’s entire signature range. Inspired by the military bases where the Miami Heat practiced during the 2011 offseason, the “Cannons” were the perfect balance of vibrant and subtle. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the colorway since, but it’d look damn good on the latest LeBron sig.
No. 10 – LeBron IX “Swingman”
Jumpman. Dunkman. Swingman. For this limited LeBron IX colorway, James and Nike Basketball paid tribute to an unlikely inspiration: “The Kid” Ken Griffey, Jr. LeBron grew up watching Griffey play, and although he ended up choosing the hardwood over the diamond, this way a perfect way to pay respect to one of the game’s greatest players.
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.