10 Most Memorable Basketball Shoes

Reebok Pumps

Over the years there have been a countless number of incredible basketball shoes released. From signature lines donned by greats such as MJ, Lebron and Kobe; to shoes designed for big men like Shaq, Charles Barkley, and Shawn Kemp; not to forget kicks sported by great guards like Scottie Pippen, Gary Payton, and Penny Hardaway. There is no way I could have compiled a list of top ten best shoes of all time. Instead, here is a list of the most memorable shoes of my time, as seen through my eyes. Ranking is in no particular order, as each shoe could easily make an argument for the top spot.

 

  1. Nike Air Jordan 1

Even though I wasn’t born at the time of this shoe’s release, I’ve got to give credit to the shoe (and legend) that started it all. Designed for MJ iRed, White, Black Air Jordan 1n ’84, these shoes were outlawed by NBA commish David Stern for not having enough white in the original black and red colorway. Just as exhibited my MJ’s style of play, nothing could stop His Airness, and he chose to sport the shoes anyways despite a $5,000 fine per game (paid by Nike). The following season a new colorway was created, allowing MJ to wear his signature kicks fine-free.

 

  1. Adidas T-Mac 2

These beautiful kicks were sported by one of the best young players to ever play the game, and one of the few to make the jump from high school successfully. T-Mac’s career was sadly cut short due to knee injuries, but the 7-time All-star Black and Blue Tmac 2was dominant during his time. Early on in his career it was even debated whether he was a greater talent than young Kobe. I remember wearing these through my middle school basketball career, hoping they would zap a little of the future HOF’s greatness into my lackluster scoring game.

 

  1. Black and Silver Nike ShoxNike Shox BB4

Vinsanity’s ability to jam on any man, woman or child who stood in his way may have contributed to the amazement of this shoe, and the introduction of Shox technology to a basketball shoe. Every basketball fan dreamed of dunking like Vince, and instead of trying to do the man justice with the use of words, here’s a link to a clip of his nasty slams.

 

  1. Nike Air Penny 1

Stepping up to fill the void left by Air Jordan’s absence, Penny and Shaq nabbed the attention of many NBA fans young and old. These are the first basketball shoes I can remember putting on my feet at a young age. The Air Penny 1 inspired Nike’s Uptempo line for versatile players. The Uptempo line was a happy-medium between Nike’s Flight line, designed for guards looking to increase agility, and Force line for bigs requiring a little extra support down low. If you’d like a refresher to Black, White, Blue Air Pennysremember how talented Penny was, check out the 30-for-30 titled, This Magic Moment.

 

 

 

  1. And1 Tai Chi

At the peak of And1’s streetball popularity and trash-talking apparel, these eye-catching shoes were the talk of many teenagers when released in the early 2000’s. Whether spotted on the feet of Hot Sauce while breaking the ankles of Red and White And1 Shoeshelpless defenders, or Vince Carter during his 2000 Dunk Contest victory, these striking shoes and colorways were the talk of many basketball fans. Despite their drop in brand popularity, these shoes have recently made a comeback due to their attractive design.

 

 

  1. Reebok The Answer IV DMX

The choice between AI’s Questions and Answer IVs (also the 5s are SO sweet!) AI black and white Answerswas not one made easily. Captivated by Allen Iverson’s unique style of play, and proof that anyone can be competitive despite their size, the Answer IVs are possibly my favorite shoes ever. The design was worn by the greatest undersized guard of all-time during his run to an MVP trophy and Finals appearance. They were re-released recently, and sadly I didn’t jump on the chance to buy the amazing shoe that now I wouldn’t outgrow within a year.

 

  1. Adidas D-Rose

Black and Red D rose shoesD-Rose took the NBA by storm, using his explosive athleticism and slashing ability to win a Rookie of the Year in 2009 and MVP in 2010-11. Rose is a Chicago native who inspires many with his style of play. Just kidding, I wouldn’t recommend these shoes unless you feel like blowing out your knees.

DRose logo

  1. Air Jordan XI

This list wouldn’t feel complete without another pair of J’s. While just about all of them could be included on the list, I had to force myself to choose just two. The XIs were the first basketball shoe to feature patent leather and is regarded by Air Jordans 11 black and whitemany as best shoe of all time. Not only that, but Jordan wore them in the greatest movie ever, Space Jam, giving them a few added points in my book. The GOAT also wore them en route to his 10th All-Star appearance, 8th scoring title, another MVP and 4th NBA title.

 

  1. Nike Zoom Lebron II

Along with Air Jordans, the list wouldn’t be complete without including a pair of shoes designed for a King. These shoes were designed for The Akron Hammer Grey and Blue LBJ 2early in his career and were nabbed by just about any basketball fan who could get their hands on them. Just about every one of Lebron’s signature shoes could have made the list, this pair has always just been my personal favorite. The shoe included increased Zoom Air support for larger players, detailed laser-graphics, and a removable ankle strap to suit each player’s unique needs.

 

  1. Dada Sprees

I’m not certain about the performance aspect of the Sprees, but who really cares, they have spinning rims on the sides. These shoes are almost as questionable as Black and White Dada Spreesmaking Latrell Sprewell the face of your brand, despite the fact that he once choked his own coach in 1997. These weren’t a pair of shoes I ever had a desire to wear, but they sure as hell caught my eye when seen on the feet of others. Rumor has it they may even be making a comeback.

 

Honorable Mentions

Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars

Have to give a shout out to the basketball shoe that truly started it all. First Blue Converse Chuck Taysavailable prior to the Great Depression. With the assistance of a few modifications, the canvas shoe with rubber soles was the most popular basketball shoe through much of the ‘60s. Although these shoes don’t meet performance standards required by today’s athletes, they are still worn by many as casual sneakers.

 

Kobe Bryant Signature Shoes

The Black Mamba has tons of great shoes, whether early in his career when Nike Kobe Technicolorsponsored by Adidas, or for the many years he donned the Nike Swoosh. Kobe was the face of the NBA for as long as I have been a fan, and the game has been forever changed as a result of his greatness. Sadly, I cannot say that I have ever sported a pair of Kobe’s shoes, mainly due to their high price point (and my heart’s soft spot for MJ’s).

Reebok Pumps

Made famous by Dee Brown during the 1991 Dunk Contest, these shoes with Reebok Pumpspumps on the tongues are basketball shoes of legend. Designed to inflate around the ankle for improved support, these beautiful shoes are ones that no basketball fan should forget.

 

 

Trimming this list down to 10 leaves me feeling like I have done many great shoes an injustice. To give every shoe the proper respect they deserve, I think the list would have been closer to 150, especially if colorways were included. Share a picture and a comment to shine the spotlight on your favorite pair of shoes and help me to do the world of kicks the justice they deserve.

The First 5

small sun

Five Steps To Take In The First Five Minutes Of Being Awake

Waking up with a full day ahead is a feeling very familiar to us. Sometimes there are not enough hours in the morning, let alone in the day to manage everything that is going on in our lives.  However, I have adjusted my morning routine in efforts to be a more positive, organized, and effective individual. I want to share this with you in hopes that you, too can wake up and feel ready to take on all the day has to bring. It has worked for me, and while I’m not saying every morning goes as planned, I have noticed an overall change in my attitude and productivity in work and life.  Not to mention my new-found love for mornings!

Here are 5 things to do in the first 5 minutes of waking up that will help you to have the best morning, and day, possible.

  1. Avoid your phone. This can be difficult because we are used to being “plugged in” during the waking hours but it’s imperative that you spend your first 2-5 minutes that you are awake with yourself. This gives you time to collect your thoughts, create goals for your day and be present in your surroundings. My suggestion is to place your phone somewhere out of reach, even if it is your alarm clock. Nothing great ever came from the snooze button.
  2. Ten deep breaths. It may sound cliche but this is not just a practice used to relieve stress or calm the nervous system. Taking deep breaths after a night of low and steady breathing will fill your cells with oxygen from head to toe and pull you out of that morning fog that will keeps you wanting to stay in bed.
  3. Drink a beverage. OJ, water, coffee, whatever. This will engage your system and encourage your body to start moving. A big glass of water is best in able to hydrate after not drinking water during sleeping hours. My go-to is hot water with lemon and honey.
  4. Open the front door and greet the world. Even if this involves putting on a coat (gasp!). If you are getting up early, there is a quietness and tranquility in the morning that is relaxing yet invigorating. Even if you’re not an early-riser, going outside and feeling the fresh air will be stimulating both physically and mentally. This helps to increase cognitive function and alertness.  Even if you only have 30 seconds, it will make a world of difference.
  5. Make your bed. Before you continue on to the process of beginning your day, make your bed. It takes less than a minute and helps you to start your day already accomplished, a small task to check off but a task nonetheless. Making your bed encourages a healthy sleep cycle by placing a barrier between your time spent sleeping and your time spent awake. An added bonus is the comfort that comes from getting into a freshly made bed at the end of the day.

No matter what kind of morning person you are, making some or all of these a part of your morning routine will significantly help you to feel invigorated,  yet relaxed in the mornings. I have listed them in order of my series and can testify that my mornings, and in turn, my days are much more productive and smooth than before I took these 5 minutes to myself. We are all busy in our own lives and it’s very important to our physical and mental health to take time to check in with our bodies.  If you have morning or other healthy life hacks to share please comment and lets share our tips to get everyone feeling good.

 

Happy Healthing,

Niki Bates

 

Lace Up: Anyone Can Be A Runner

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 2.51.02 PM The amount of times I have heard “I’m not a runner” or “I’m not built like a runner, therefore I can’t run” has really started to piss me off and honestly, whoever I walked by this weekend saying these things, thank you for the inspiration to prove you all wrong.

I’ll start by being completely candid, I am a bit biased to the whole physical activity hoorah. I grew up playing competitive soccer up until the day I left for college. I mean, yes, it’s a lot of running and disciplined conditioning, but I never had to run longer than 3-4 miles at a time in those 15 years of playing. I should also add that each of those miles had to be in 7 minutes or less (the struggle was totally real).

Once college started, all concepts of physical activity went out the window and I was now struggling to run 1 mile, on a Sunday, while trying not to gag over the smell of Captain Morgan and Fireball seeping through my pores. Cool.

Freshman year ended and those attractive 15 pounds needed to go (this isn’t where running saved my life, I just got cut off of my campus meal plan when I moved out of the dorms). Exercise became important again and I was back in shape but I still couldn’t run more than 2 agonizing miles, maybe 3 on a good day.

IMG_8584Come Junior year I accepted an offer for an internship in Seattle and decided I should find things to do that would let me see the city in a unique way. This is where running made my life great. I signed up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Seattle, by myself. Turns out I wasn’t alone, a few of my friends had already signed up and planned on taking a road trip to run as well. Training became fun as we increased our distance by one mile each Sunday and spent the majority of our runs singing and talking in very breathy sentences. Come race day, 13.1 miles never seemed so doable.

To make a long story longer, I caught the running bug. Since my first half in Seattle, I have completed two more half marathons, improving my time each time.

The point of this was to show that anyone can lace up some shoes and hit the pavement. I can’t lie like some Pinterest post and say it’s as easy as that. Running is an investment in your time, your body, and your wallet. Ugly running shoes changed the way I felt about running. YOU MUST INVEST IN UGLY RUNNING SHOES. My GPS watch complimented my competitive drive by keeping my pace (so that I wasn’t trying to run 7 minute miles for 13.1 miles straight) and my running belt was crucial for holding my phone, keys and ID. Looking the part makes performing the part so much easier.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 3.15.13 PMI’m not saying go sign up for five half marathons or to start out running 9 miles at a time. I challenge every one of you to start by going outside (weather is a horrible argument), plug in some pump-up tunes or grab a friend to distract you, and start off slow. If 1 mile is all you’ve got, then it’s one more mile than those sitting on the couch. Happy Running 🙂

*Serious about it? Comment below for more tips and help on joining a world wide community.

Worst NBA Jerseys Ever! (Wait Til You See #1)

There have been a bunch of great looking jerseys in NBA history, and unfortunately there have been plenty that are less than pleasant. Here is my list of the top 7 ugliest NBA jerseys. Let me know what you think!

7 Golden State Warriors 2012

warriors

I won’t lie, I think all of the sleeved jerseys in the NBA are just hideous. But out of all of them, this orange one to go along with the pin stripe shorts are just the worst of the bunch. With how well the Warriors play, this jersey seems to misrepresent them.

6 Charlotte Bobcats 2007

bobcats

This jersey was the terrible idea of some Charlotte designer that went along with their “NASCAR Night” in ’07. The finish line checkers on the sides of the jersey do not mesh well with the pin stripe design of the rest of the jersey. While Charlotte was named the Bobcats, they only had a winning record 2 years out of the total 10 years, this jersey kind of fits with the ugliness during that decade for them.

5 Sacramento Kings 2005

kings

The Kings made gold and purple jerseys in ’05 as alternate uniforms, seemingly forgetting about that powerhouse Los Angeles team to the south. These were only used for two seasons, which in my opinion, is two seasons too many.

4 Cleveland Cavaliers 1994

cavs

The stripe going across this jersey just doesn’t look right, not to mention that the colors have nothing to do with the Cavaliers logo or primary colors. Even the word “Cleveland” looks ugly with the red font. Compared to today’s Cavs jerseys, I’m glad these will not be making a comeback any time soon.

3 Dallas Mavericks 2001

mavs

This metallic looking jersey was only used for one game in the ’01 season before owner Mark Cuban gave them the boot. I honestly can’t blame him because these things just look downright awful. They almost look like a shiny trash bag, and that’s where they belong; in the trash.

2 Los Angeles Clippers 2006

clippers

This jersey is a throwback to their days as the Buffalo Braves. It’s hard to make an orange jersey look good and the weird stripes on this one just didn’t do it. The “B” also looks totally out of place, similar to the stripes. Clippers fans weren’t too proud of these jerseys and were happy to see them go after only two seasons of being in use.

1 Milwaukee Bucks 1995

bucks

There are a bunch of ugly Milwaukee jerseys that I could have chosen because most of them look bad, but I think you can tell why I chose this one! There are so many things wrong with this jersey, so let me start with the obvious; the deer. Damn this thing looks pissed and awful, and it takes up basically half of the uniform! Next let’s look at the primary color; that may very well be the worst looking green I have ever seen. Now the text; with the faded white to purple lettering, it just tops off what was already an ugly jersey.