Inside The Nike Kobe 9 Elite: Embracing The Flyknit And Touching Nerves With Kobe Bryant

By Esau Howard / @easystylez

Despite recovering from an injury that has delayed the start of his season, the latest edition of Kobe Bryant’s signature shoes has finally been unveiled. The good folks at Nike premiered the Kobe 9 Elite at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon.

The Kobe 9 Elite is a drastic change from the more recent incarnations of the line. Opting to go with more of a higher cut, the lead color way is being called "Masterpiece." Even with the cut changes, the shoes still maintain the unique mashing of colors that have become synonymous with this signature line.

While the design might be a little offsetting to casual folks at first, sneaker heads and basketball enthusiasts alike will all be looking to try their hand at the latest release.

From the official Nike Inc. release:

“Designed with Kobe’s tech insights and design inspirations, the KOBE 9 Elite features three key technologies: Nike Flyknit, Flywire and Lunarlon, giving the shoe superior lightweight performance. The innovative design enhances the foot’s natural movements while providing Kobe with strength, durability and speed, plus all the benefits of natural motion where he needs it most.

“I draw inspiration from where I am as a player, as a person, and where my career is at this moment. I’m trying to do something that the majority of people think is impossible to do,” Kobe reflected when asked about the inspiration for his latest shoes and about getting back into the game. ”I let my emotions out when I step on the basketball floor, it’s always been my escape, and these shoes will touch a nerve on the court in the same way I do.”

Despite not hitting retailers until February 8, the shoe could make its debut on an NBA court as soon as this upcoming weekend. While nothing has been confirmed, it has been hinted that Kobe Bryant will make his season debut this Sunday when the Lakers face off against the Toronto Raptors.

Take a look at photos of the shoe, and decide for yourself if these are a must cop or not.

PS: Nike and Kobe also introduced the Prelude Pack, which celebrates the stories behind some of Kobe's most defining moments. Eight revolutionary art movements have been paired with eight milestones in Kobe's career to recreate each of Kobe's signature shoes. I have a feeling the K.O.B.E. album isn't a part of the milestones being covered.

Related: How Absence Helped One Heart Grow Fonder Of Kobe Bryant

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