Kobe Bryant has the best Christmas slipper. We can discuss sneakers until the end of time, but this isn’t even up for debate – the Kobe 6 Grinch is the best Christmas shoe of all time.
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Even though gamers have been wearing special edition sneakers or Player Edition sneakers in Christmas Day games dating back to the ’90s, it wasn’t really until the NBA turned the roster for Christmas Day games. Christmas at a showcase event in 2008 that the Christmas Day slippers revealed turned into a thing.
Sneaker companies followed suit, using it as an opportunity to market their latest models on the court at the feet of their biggest names.
While we could have included many notable sneakers that were worn on Christmas Day, we decided to keep this list from 2008 to the present, and only shoes that were exclusive models specifically designed with a Christmas theme or exclusive models debuted on Christmas Day. .
- 2009 – Nike Zoom Kobe V ‘Chaos’
- 2014 – Nike Kyrie 1 ‘Christmas’ PE
- 2015 – Nike Kyrie 2 ‘Christmas’
- 2017 – Kith x Nike LeBron 15
10) 2008 LeBron James – Nike LeBron James 6 ‘Chalk’
This isn’t a Christmas-themed sneaker – its inspiration comes from LeBron’s pregame chalk ritual (sidebar: who else misses Cleveland’s version of that?), The LeBron 6 ‘Chalk’ debuted when the Cavs defeated the Cavs. the Wizards 93-89. on Christmas Day 2008.
The LeBron models didn’t really change the culture until the seventh iteration of the following season, but the 6 is still an underrated LeBron sneaker.
9) 2010 Kevin Durant – Nike KD III ‘Christmas’
This was the year a ‘Christmas’ theme was incorporated into all three exclusive models, and Nike released a ton of exclusive Christmas sneakers in 2010, but the only pair that wasn’t red or green was Kevin’s bright yellow KD III. Durant.
The III doesn’t get the love that the IV gets, but it’s definitely one of Durant’s most underrated sneakers.
8) 2012 Dwyane Wade – Li Ning Way of Wade (two pairs in one game)
People were shocked when Dwyane Wade left Jordan Brand for the Chinese company Li-Ning in September 2012. Why would Wade leave the biggest brand in basketball for an unknown product? The truth was, Wade was looking to build his own empire (almost ten years later he has a lifetime deal with them).
For its Christmas Day debut with Li-Ning, the company decided to showcase two color combinations from its new Way of Wade signature series. Wade used a pair in each half.
Two is always better than one, right?
7) 2015 Stephen Curry – Under Armor Curry 2 ‘Northern Lights’
The 2014-15 NBA season will undoubtedly be Steph Curry’s best individual season.
After a record-breaking performance in the regular season, he was at the peak of his powers and popularity. He led the league in jersey sales, received the most All-Star votes and became the NBA’s first unanimous MVP in May. The Warriors would win their first chip and a dynasty was born.
This time period was when the Under Armor Curry 2 craze also swept the United States. At one point, Chef Curry’s sneaker was outselling LeBron’s and he even had His Airness on display (not really, but a little).
Steph was able to unveil the Northern Lights for the Warriors’ Christmas Day showdown with the Cavaliers.
6) Kobe Bryant 2008 – Nike iD Zoom Kobe IV
You could say this was the year all the sneaker reveal in the NBA holiday wave began. Before 2008, there were only a couple of games scheduled each year, but in 2008 the NBA experimented with a full five-game roster.
Nike gave the 2007 NBA Most Valuable Player an exclusive Nike iD Player makeup exclusive to the Zoom Kobe IV adorned with the colors of the Lakers. Nike continued its hard-line approach to marketing the sneaker by handing out 100 lucky fans in attendance a pair of the Nike iD Zoom Kobe IV in a special red Nike gym bag.
Oh, and the Lakers beat the Celtics 92-83 just to cap off the day off.
5) Kobe Bryant 2011 – Nike Kobe VII ‘Cheetah’
The NBA returned from a prolonged lockout and began a modified season with the Christmas Day game roster. This gave Nike Basketball the opportunity to present Kobe’s signature line and at the same time make a specific Christmas shoe for him.
Utilizing Kobe’s love for the predatory spirit of alpha hunters like the cheetah, the great white shark, and of course the black mamba snake, the VII was part of the Predator Pack released by Nike. Headlining the Kobe 6 Grinch from the previous Christmas with the Kobe VII Cheetah though, is like Michael Jackson after Thriller with Bad – it’s still awesome, but not all that shocking.
4) 2011 Kevin Durant – Nike KD IV ‘Copper’
Kevin Durant and Nike owned the first part of the 2011 NBA season. In the immediate aftermath of the launch of the Weatherman and the Nerf edition of his new sneaker, Durant debuted the Christmas version of his shoe, decked out in all copper on Christmas Day 2011.
Like the bright yellow color of the previous season, copper had no direct correlation with Christmas celebrations, but was inspired by Durant’s mother’s Christmas baking.
The IV is considered Durant’s best shoe of its line, and the copper joints are one of the most coveted by enthusiasts.
3) 2009 – Nike LeBron 7 ‘Christmas’
This would end up being LeBron’s last Christmas sneaker since his first term with the Cavaliers, and up to this point, it was his best. The VII rejuvenated the LeBron line, and Nike opted for a full-length Air Max unit for the first time in the James exclusive.
The shoe even featured Christmas-themed insoles, one with a wrapped gift and the other featuring LeBron James as a child.
What helped make these shoes, and Kobe’s, memorable were the puppet-themed commercials.
2) 2010 LeBron James – Nike LeBron 8 V2 ‘Christmas’
They rank number two simply because of the cultural impact of the LeBron 8. While the VIIs rejuvenated the line, this was James’s first signature sneaker as a member of the Miami Heat. The South Beach color scheme had already become one of the most coveted color schemes, and when the NBA scheduled the Heatles and Lakers on Christmas Day, you already knew Nike would bring the heat, sorry for the game. words.
LeBron introduced the V2 fit in the 8 for the first time, while Kobe sported what is considered one of his best shoes.
Dressed in red with a mostly solid upper and a hint of speckles on the midsole, the V2 Christmas was very aesthetically pleasing.
The Heat won the game 96-80 and King James scored a triple-double, but what has resisted the most is the quality of the shoes on display that day.
1) 2010 Kobe Bryant – Nike Kobe 6 ‘Grinch’
Hands down, number one on any Christmas slippers list.
When the late great Kobe Bryant debuted this shoe on Christmas Day 2010, he did more than just shake up sneaker culture. He pointed to the apex of the sneaker reveal on Christmas Day.
Kobe sported a number of different color combinations from Kobe 6 during the 2010-11 season, but on Christmas Day, the stage was perfectly set: the defending champion Lakers took on the newly formed Miami Heat super team with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade. and Chris Bosh.
Each person sitting by the court received a special gift bag that also included the bright green Kobes.
Nike’s marketing for this shoe was elite. The nickname ‘Grinch’ originated from sneaker blogs and forums that dubbed him that for his resemblance to the infamous Dr. Seuss character who tried to ruin the holiday. Nike’s official name was ‘Green Mamba’ because the shoe was inspired by the animal of the same name, and the upper part mimicked snakeskin. Designed by Eric Avar, the Kobe 6 Grinch was the perfect combination of design and storytelling.
The shoe received the retro treatment, or Protro, as Kobe called it, in 2020 and was instantly sold out on Nike’s website. The original 2010 pair is selling north of $ 1,400 on StockX, while the newer retro is selling for a starting price of $ 399.
Even though the Heat walked away with a 96-80 win that night, and Bryant fired just 6 of 16 shots from the field, the enduring images are of Kobe’s bright green shoes.
It’s been ten Christmases since then, and the impact is tangible across the NBA, players still wearing the Kobe Grinch 6 on the court.