The Nike Kobe 11 would be the final shoe Kobe Bryant would actually play NBA basketball in. It was the end of a special era for Kobe and Nike. Learn more about the Nike Kobe 11 below.
The Nike Kobe 11 was Bryant’s final numerical shoe in his line. The 11 did an excellent job of bringing everything the brand wanted to do with the line, in terms of progression and innovation, to the last shoe. The 11 was designed by the legend, Eric Avar. Kobe and Avar knew the 11 would be the final shoe Kobe would play in. Because of this, they knew they had to do something exceptional.
The Kobe 9 introduced Flyknit. This was the first time Flyknit was on basketball shoes. Nike continued the evolution of the material by weaving in TPU yarns, this provided more structure and stability than the past use of Flyknit. It made the Kobe 11 incredibly light and structured. Full length Lunar and Zoom Air on the heel of the 11 adds a lot cushioning and support. It was tailored for the explosive basketball moves of Kobe.
It is possibly the greatest last game in an athlete’s career. It wasn’t in the Playoffs, or a Finals game, which I am sure Kobe would have preferred, but it felt as monumental as any of those things. Kobe put on a show for his last game before his retirement. He scored 60 points in his final NBA appearance. 60! He scored the 60 points in the Kobe 11.
Bryant dealt with a lot of injuries in his last few seasons. Many in the press felt Kobe was retiring in 2016 because his body could no longer handle the grind of a 48 minute game. Kobe, as he always did, wanted to prove a point with his last game in the league, he would play 42 minutes, and was engaged in the game at the highest level imaginable. He hit clutch shots, showcased his athleticism, and most importantly, showed his incredible ability to capture the moment.
Kobe’s final game was an attraction. The game, which took place in Los Angeles, featured Kobe’s Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Utah Jazz. Former teammates of Kobe, like Shaquille O’Neal, attended. Superstars like Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, and Lakers superfan, Jack Nicholson, were all in the sold out crowd.
On the same night as Kobe’s 60 point performance, the Golden State Warriors broke the Chicago Bulls record for most wins in a season. That monumental accomplishment by the Warriors was the second biggest story in the NBA that night. Kobe’s 60 point game was the only thing people cared about on April 13, 2016. It grabbed all the internet headlines, blog posts, and attention of the sport’s world.
The Lakers would win the game, but that was insignificant. The game will be remembered for Kobe delivering one of his all-time great performances, in what would be his final professional basketball game.
- Adam C. Better
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