Which player had the best sneakers in the NBA during Week 2?


7:00 AM ET

  • Nick DePaulaESPN

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, 23, is the youngest player in the NBA with a signature shoe. Over the past year, he has worked behind the scenes with Adidas on his debut model, the D.O.N. Issue #1.

“It’s a lot more responsibility,” Mitchell said. “Realistically, I think that that’s really where my head is at. I’ve been given this opportunity on this platform, and now that X is on my back … cause there’s so many people who want this opportunity that I’ve been given. So now I gotta be able to rise to the occasion and step up.”

Once the general design was in place, Mitchell looked to celebrate the Jazz’s history. The team brought back their mid-’90s “Mountain” jerseys as a throwback this season, giving Mitchell the perfect opportunity to honor a past icon.

His purple and white sneakers featured the familiar ice-blue-capped mountain graphic along the midsole. A subtle 45-cent stamp icon along the collar paid tribute to “The Mailman,” Hall of Fame Jazz forward Karl Malone. Although the special edition shoes might have been made just for Mitchell, that didn’t stop him from taking a pair right off his feet after his pregame warm-up and handing his Mailman-inspired kicks to a young fan.

“It’s usually the kids that are, like, too shy to come over to the front,” he said. “They don’t think it’s gonna happen to them. You know, that’s the best ones. The ones that think, like, ‘There’s no way he’s gonna pick me.'”

While a handful of other NBA stars will give away their sneakers after games, Mitchell has made a ritual of his pregame handoffs.

“As a kid, I always wanted to go to the game early,” he said. “I always wanted to meet my favorite players and watch them shoot pregame. So for me, being able to do that for a child, it meant a lot to me. I shoot right before the game starts so that kids are already piled in. I just love being able to make a kid’s day.”

While Mitchell’s line is just starting, Derrick Rose‘s is on his 10th signature shoe with Adidas. That milestone makes Rose the eighth player in NBA history to have 10 consecutive shoes with the same brand during his career.

“Especially with a brand like this, I never would’ve thought this would happen,” he said. “When you’re younger, you don’t think about that.”

His new DRose 10 takes a nostalgic approach, blending elements and design cues from throughout his signature line while splashing in past colorways and themes from prior models. A vivid teal and salmon colorway of the DRose 4, which he wasn’t originally able to wear on the court, reappeared atop his 10th model earlier this week. The hues drafted off of the Santa Monica pier, where Rose spent his offseasons working out and rehabbing early in his career.

“I never would’ve thought, after having my injuries my third and fourth year, fighting through all of that to get to year 12,” he said. “If I didn’t listen to myself, my career would’ve been a lot shorter, and my story would be different.”

Elsewhere in the league, thoughtful tributes were spotted across the feet of some of the league’s biggest stars. Just before suffering a broken left-hand injury that is expected to sideline him for at least the next three months, Stephen Curry rocked a Riley Curry-designed pair of his new Under Armour Curry 7.

Stephen Curry is wearing this leopard print Curry 7 again tonight, which were actually designed by his daughter Riley. pic.twitter.com/ZZUZQwnxkB

— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) October 29, 2019

Given a blank slate of the shoe’s panels, Curry’s 7-year-old daughter drew her very own concept from scratch, featuring a yellow cheetah print along the upper. The shoe’s heel tab incorporates a subtle nod to each of Curry’s children.

“We included three characters that represent each of them: a wolf for Canon, a unicorn for Riley and a butterfly for Ryan,” Under Armour designer Leon Gu said. “His children will be with him anytime he’s on or off the court.”

Kyrie Irving also honored his family on his footwear this week, with a collaboration with New Jersey-based Sneaker Room. Both Irving and the boutique’s owner, Suraj Kaufman, lost their mothers to breast cancer, which added an extra layer of meaning to the tribute pair of Kyrie 5s.

After collaborating on a similarly themed Kyrie 3 that helped to raise $84,000 for New Jersey family shelters, their latest charity fundraising pair is highlighted by a “MOM” icon along the tongue in place of Irving’s logo and a handwritten note from the Nets point guard along the insole.

While this season’s Halloween week saw drastically less orange or glow-in-the-dark footwear than in past years, Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris was still in the spirit, breaking out a customized pair of the Kobe 4 Protro highlighting one of his favorite horror films. With a blood-dripped Swoosh and “Scream” text along the heel counter, the shoes featured the movie’s iconic white costume mask along the side.

Last but not least, PJ Tucker once again unearthed a ridiculously rare pair from earlier this decade, donning a DJ Clark Kent-designed edition of the Nike LeBron 8. Featuring just one cement print panel on each side, only 24 pairs of the rare version were made in 2011, with pairs fetching north of $2,000 whenever they pop up on resale websites.

Not only an iconic musician in the hip hop community, Kent has also long been one of the industry’s biggest sneaker collectors, with a rotation of thousands on hand. Worn fittingly by Tucker in Brooklyn, the black and neon pair celebrates the BK-bred DJ’s longtime “112 Pack” colorway honoring the area’s zip codes, which start with “112.”

Check out all of the best sneakers from around the league this week, and be sure to vote on your favorite pair in our poll below. For real-time updates on sneaker culture and NBA kicks, follow @SneakerCenter on Instagram.

Story first appeared on ESPN.com


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