Some things make you feel old. Itâ€™s inevitable as you age, but palpable reminders can still hit you in the face. LeBron James is one of them. Why? Because Iâ€™m rocking his kicks, and the kid is nearly ten years younger than me.
Imagine being Michael Jordan â€“ in high skool. Welcome to the first phase of LeBronâ€™s life. Kid was on the covers of Sports Illustrated and SLAM in his junior year (Grade 11)!?! And itâ€™s only gotten bigger.
I remember watching LeBronâ€™s first NBA game with baited breath. Would the most-hyped athlete EVER (relative to his age/experience) live up to top-billing? Mos Def â€“ he was on some legitimate universal magnetic from Game One. Oops, dunks, dimes, he had it all â€“ including one of the most hotly contested sneaker signings of all time.
Nike won (of course), and the LeBron era was on. Well, not really â€“ not until his second shoe â€“ the Zoom LeBron II. I skipped his debut joint, the Zoom Generation, mainly cuz it was ugly. It didnâ€™t reflect the genius in LBJâ€™s game â€“ a steep disappointment considering the design team consisted of Tinker Hatfield and Eric Avar, two Nike gods.
But the LeBron II made me a believer or a witness or whatever Nikeâ€™s slogan is. Cuz the shit was dope, from the reflective fabric to the extensive lasering (a first for a non-limited edition Nike) to the assymetrical straps. And the shoe was as rugged as youâ€™d expect for a 6â€™8â€, 250 lb b-ball monster, but also supremely comfortable, thanks to Zoom Max cushioning.
And somehow they topped in with the LBJ III. I wonâ€™t draw parallels between LeBron and Jordan from a basketball P.O.V., but sneaker-wise, James is on-track for a career on par with the Man himself. When it comes to kicks, I try to discipline myself. For example, I donâ€™t like rocking shoes when they first drop â€“ I try to wait a couple years until cats have beaten them to death or theyâ€™ve just been forgotten (trust me, the backlog is big enough that this isnâ€™t a problem).
But I broke that rule as soon as I copped my LBJ IIIs â€“ started rocking them from Day One. I copped three colorways, included another of the O.G. for box-freshness purposes. And donâ€™t think it hit me when I bought them that Iâ€™m wearing the shoes of a someone much younger than myself. With Jordan, I was a kid growing up watching the Man do his thang. With LeBron, Iâ€™m a man now, watching a kid grow to be the Man.
So whoâ€™s the kid, me or LeBron? Both, I suppose. James stopped being a kid a long time ago (and stopped looking like one a million years ago). And just like the kid/Man, the LeBron IVs are ahead of their time — from the foamposite shell to the sleek design and newly-incorporated Free technology (Nike’s latest running-shoe breakthrough). Compare the LBJs to the signature offerings from the other guys (T-Mac with adidas and A.I. with Reebok), and it’s like those other shoes aren’t even in the same millenium. Can’t wait to leave work and cop them LBJ IVs todayâ€¦. So I guess Iâ€™m still a kid, too.