Before the late Kobe Bryant built his sneaker empire with Nike, the NBA icon’s line of signature basketball sneakers began with a different brand — Adidas, to be exact.
The Los Angeles Lakers legend’s first signature basketball sneaker with the Three Stripes didn’t come to fruition until his second NBA season in 1997-98 with the introduction of the Adidas KB8, a look that was designed by the industry veteran James Carnes and arguably Bryant’s most popular signature model with Adidas. Prior to his sophomore season, Bryant occasionally wore models from Adidas’ famed EQT basketball line such as the EQT Elevation.
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The Crazy 8 is best known for its mix of canvas, leather and mesh upper that’s paired with an inner bootie construction for lockdown, which allows for airflow to the wearer’s foot while minimalizing friction. The design is finished off with a soft EVA foam midsole including a Torsion system plate and the brand’s innovative Feet You Wear outsole design that’s slated to provide the athletes with a natural stride and feel.
One of his many accolades during the model’s debut season includes being named the youngest player to start in an NBA All-Star game at 19 years old while averaging 15.4 points, grabbing 3.1 rebounds, and dishing out 2.5 assists per game all while playing around 26 minutes. Other notable basketball accomplishments while being an Adidas-sponsored athlete includes winning three straight NBA championships from 2000 to 2002.
In the years that followed, the duo released a handful of other signature models together with the final Kobe 2 hit stores in 2002 as the two started to not see eye-to-eye and Bryant opting to buy-out his contract signaling the end to their endorsement deal. One of the stipulations as part of the buyout listed that Bryant wasn’t allowed to sign with another brand until the following 2003 season, which garnered one of the most interesting sneaker moments in history. The legend was able to lace up any shoe brand he wanted and it ranged from player-exclusive colorways of Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan signature sneaker line to the latest offerings from Nike Basketball and even Allen Iverson’s Reebok signature models before finishing off his illustrious 20-year basketball career with Nike. Since the departure from the Three Stripes, the silhouette has since been given a new alias to the Crazy 8 in 2005 during the model’s first-ever re-release.
Following Bryant’s tragic passing in January, the demand for Bryant-related products has surged and sneaker resellers have taken full advantage of it and the Adidas Crazy 8 is no exception. “As is the case for any live marketplace, real-life events have ramifications on market performance. Following the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s passing, there was a surge of interest in products related to the basketball legend, including some of his most noted sneaker collaborations,” a statement made by the resale platform StockX in January. “The increased interest is a testament to his impact both on and off the court.”
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of Bryant’s best Adidas Crazy 8 styles that you can add to your sneaker collection right now.
Adidas Crazy 8 ‘1998 All-Star Game’
As the name suggests, this was the style that Bryant wore during the ’98 NBA All-Star Game where he became a starter at the event for the first time ever. The shoe is offered in a black-based makeup that features bold purple and gold accents as a nod to the signature colors of his team, the Los Angeles Lakers while his “8” jersey number is embroidered on the forefoot. Given the rich history tied to this colorway, this pair is one of the most sought-after Adidas Kobe styles to ever release. Given that the style released over two decades ago, the only way that fans can still buy a pair if throughout the resale platform GOAT. The shoe is available from men’s size 8.5 up to a 14 with the lowest price listed is a size 13 for $575 and as high as $1,115 for a size 10.
This Crazy 8 is a colorway that Kobe Bryant wore on the court
This is one of the few original iterations of the Crazy 8
Due to its age, it’s recommended that this pair shouldn’t be worn for performance use and should be for collection purposes only
The technology used in the Crazy 8 is outdated compared to what the Three Stripes is currently offering with its performance basketball line
Given its popularity, a majority of sizes are demanding high resell prices in the secondary market
Adidas Crazy 8 A//D
The Adidas Crazy 8 A//D debuted in 2018 and served as a modern take on Bryant’s original KB8 signature model. This pair mirrors the original shape but opts for a breathable mesh construction on the upper that’s fused with suede overlays on the toe box and heel counter along with an intricate lacing system predominately seen as the shoe’s eyelets that runs up the sock-like elastic ankle collar for support. The midsole appears to be similar to the original silhouette but upon further inspection reveals mesh panels on the side along with the popular Boost cushioning tucked into the EVA foam midsole along with a rubber outsole for durability. The modified Adidas Crazy 8 A//D is currently available on sale at select sneaker retailers including at Boston-based store Concepts for over 50 percent off its suggested retail price. The shoe is currently stocked starting from a men’s size 8 up to a 12.5.
On sale now for only $80, you can own the latest variation of Bryant’s first Adidas signature sneaker without breaking the bank
The Crazy 8 has been upgraded with the brand’s latest tech including a Primeknit upper for ventilation that’s paired with Boost cushioning in the midsole for all-day comfort
Aside from it being a hoops shoe, this version of the Crazy 8 can also be worn off the basketball courts
Given its Primeknit construction, the Crazy 8 A//D may not provide as secure of a fit to the wearer’s feet when hooping compared to other models
Adidas Crazy 8 ADV
The aforementioned Adidas Crazy 8 A//D wasn’t the only modernized version of Bryant’s signature sneaker to be introduced as the Three Stripes debuted the ADV (Advanced) version in 2018. The updated model comes with a premium leather upper featuring the original shape introduced in the late ’90s that sits atop an EVA foam midsole and the Feet You Wear outsole. This style is currently on the “Stock Market of Things” StockX for below its suggested retail price of $130 and is reselling for an average price of $76. A size 11 has the lowest asking price of $80 and upwards of $189 for a men’s size 9.5. GOAT offers a more wide array of sizes ranging from a men’s 7.5 up to a size 14. On the lower end of the price spectrum, a size 9 will run you $70 while sizes 7.5 and 12 cost $180 each.
The modernized Adidas Crazy 8 ADV provides the classic aesthetic that sneaker fans love but with is fused with updated materials to be used on the basketball courts
You can grab the Crazy 8 ADV now for below is suggested retail price
Given its all-white color scheme, this iteration of the Adidas Crazy 8 ADV is prone to getting dirty easier
The brand has since released different basketball models with newer innovations since this sneaker released
Adidas Crazy 8 ADV PK ‘Lusso’
Continuing the modernization of the Adidas Crazy 8, the brand decided to introduce an ADV PK (Advanced Primeknit) version by giving the upper a Primeknit construction, which removed a lot of the shoe’s overall weight. The shoe features a black-based color scheme that’s combined with contrasting white details throughout the knit. To help fans get into the shoes easier, a pull tab is also provided on the heel. Additional details include reflective pinstripe accents, a leather heel counter while the tooling incorporates the familiar EVA foam midsole as well as maintaining the Feet You Wear design for its outsole as a nod to the original. In terms of availability, this “Lusso” colorway is more limited on StockX with sizes 9, 10, 11, 11.5, 12, and 13 available. Most pairs are currently reselling for less than its original $150 retail price including 11, 12, and 13 all with the lowest asking price of $125 and the highest asking price is listed for a size 10 at $200. GOAT also offers a range of sizes and for fans with smaller feet including size 7 and below, they can grab pairs for $100 and below. On the opposite side of the price spectrum, a men’s size 8.5 will cost you $350.
By using Primeknit on the upper, this is one of the lighter Crazy 8 styles on the mark right now
The Crazy 8 ADV PK is on sale now for below the suggested retail price for $150
The Primeknit may not provide a secured fit for hooping in comparison to the leather used on other styles
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