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Basketball

A Review of Some of the Shoes (And Performances) in Mavs-Clippers Game 1

An excuse to work out some feelings.
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The Harden Vol. 8 "Barneys" Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden (above photo) is wearing a PE (player edition) of his own signature shoe, the Adidas Harden Vol. 8. I didn’t see that this had its own name so I’m going to call it the Harden Vol. 8 “Barney,” because it is puffy and purple, and I was instantly sick of seeing it and him and kind of basketball in general. Maybe this colorway is a nod to his time in Houston and some of its residents’ proclivity for purple drank? Probably not. But maybe? Might also call these the Rob Liefelds after the Deadpool comic artist who couldn’t draw feet.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Hardaway Jr. is wearing a PE version of the Jordan Tatum 1s, the Jordan Brand signature for Boston’s Jayson Tatum. As near as I can tell, they take at least some of their inspiration from the early 1990s colorways of the Nike Air Raid, the shoe his dad was the face (the foot?) of, starring in Spike Lee-directed commercials and so on. This continues THJ’s late-season tribute to his pop, in which he has been playing every game as if he is a 57-year-old. I’m going to call this colorway the Jordan Tatum 1 “Ordell Robbie” (for the scene in Jackie Brown in which Samuel Jackson’s character asks Luis, his friend and former literal partner in crime, “What happened to you, man? Your ass used to be beautiful.”).

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Ivica Zubac is also wearing the Harden Vol. 8. His in the “Blue Fusion” colorway. I guess these look a little better in the color block version rather than monochromatic, but they still look like he’s in Kleenex boxes. Which makes the unstoppable nature of his first-half play even harder to take. Thank god he wasn’t wearing the Barneys. I might have gotten physically ill.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Luka Doncic was supposed to debut his latest sneaker, the Jordan Luka 3. Maybe he was wearing it pre-game. I only saw him in a mostly murdered-out PE of his Luka 1s. (I think called “Black/Neon.”) He ended up with a decent stat line, but given that the first half was like watching open-heart surgery, he should load these into a t-shirt cannon and fire them into a flaming dumpster. UPDATE: Apparently he was wearing the new joints in the first quarter, then swapped for the all-blacks. I guess I had the flames of hellfire in my eyes. Apologies.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Paul George is wearing (I think) a PE of his now-discontinued Nike signature shoe, (I think) the PG2. I’m always surprised when I remember that George, a fine enough player, was given the Michael Jordan package—signature shoe, Gatorade commercial, superstar calls—before he had really done anything. And every time I start thinking about that fact, he hits a three or does something else really good. But I still think I’m right!

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

P.J. Washington is wearing the Kobe 4 Protro “Philly,” which just released. It wasn’t the only good thing he did yesterday, but I don’t remember any of the others. I’m including these here only so I have something to refer to when this entire afternoon is swallowed by the memory hole.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook is wearing a surprisingly sedate colorway of the Jordan One Take 4, the lower-budget line of his signature shoe. He is sort of in the “lower-budget line” phase of his career, financially and spiritually, a tamped-down answer to the triple-double machine he used to be. But still prideful. I really thought when he made his first three that he might shoot the Clippers out of the game. Unfortunately, he stayed essentially like this shoe: solid, not trying to do too much, kind of irritating for reasons I can’t completely explain.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving is wearing the straightforwardly named “Playoffs/White” edition of his Anta Kai 1s, which recently dropped online. (I got the navy versions because, while I do believe the earth is round, I also believe in Kyrie and sometimes wearing extremely loud sneakers.) Kyrie had 20 points in the third quarter alone, but maybe could have started putting some of those numbers on the board a little bit earlier. So he can keep these, for now, but another single-digit quarter from the Mavs and he has to tie them together and toss them over the nearest power line.

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Zac Crain

Zac Crain

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Zac, senior editor of D Magazine, has written about the explosion in West, Texas; legendary country singer Charley Pride; Tony…
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