At the NBA Finals, an unusual change of footwear — Andscape

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Get This Before It Disappears!

Every season since LeBron James first appeared in the NBA Finals in 2007, players have debuted new or special-edition sneakers specifically for the Finals – until now.

Marred in part by ongoing factory and shipping delays that have stymied the sneaker industry’s launch calendar throughout the 2021-2022 season, along with the league’s loosening of the footwear color rules in 2018, this year’s NBA Finals are showcasing more variety and surprising choices on the court.

Headliners such as Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum, Klay Thompson, Marcus Smart and Draymond Green have been pulling up in everything from purple and red, to olive cheetah print, neon blue and vivid orange.

And then there’s Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, whose Adidas endorsement deal expired in October 2021. He’s been wearing Nike’s Kobe 6 Protro sneaker throughout the Finals — for free.

As has been the case in most recent championship matchups, Nike is dominating the branding battle, with nearly half of all players playing in its swoosh sneakers. (During the regular season, Nike is worn by around 68% of the league’s players.)

This year, 16 players are lacing up Nikes for the Finals, although not all of them have an official endorsement contract. Next in line for visibility would be the three athletes each sporting Nike and Under Armour’s player-led subsidiary brands, with Tatum, Otto Porter Jr. and Malik Fitts each wearing Jordan Brand shoes, and Andre Iguodala, Damion Lee, and of course, Curry, are wearing Curry Brand.

Additionally, Thompson and Kevon Looney are both wearing Anta, while Puma (Smart), New Balance (Aaron Nesmith), Adidas (Nemanja Bjelica), Peak (Andrew Wiggins) and Converse (Green) are each officially repped by a lone player.





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