James Wears Nike LeBron NXXT Gen Inspired by His First Sneaker on 20th Anniversary of NBA Debut

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Sunday night marked the 20th anniversary of LeBron James playing his first game in the NBA. And in a poetic twist, James did exactly as he did two decades ago by playing away against the Sacramento Kings.

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To celebrate the anniversary, James wore a variant of his Nike LeBron NXXT Gen inspired by his first signature sneaker, the Zoom Generation, in its “Debut” colorway. Just like the pair he wore for his NBA debut, James’ sneakers from Sunday night see the upper split in distinct white and black with subtle red accents.

Although the season is still less than a week old, James had been favoring his LeBron 21 on the court. It would seem that the LeBron NXXT Gen, a takedown (or more affordable) version of his LeBron 20, simply lent itself better to invoking the sneaker an 18-year-old James wore for his first game in the NBA.

Nike Air Zoom Generation LeBron James Debut
The Air Zoom Generation re-released this year in its “Debut” colorway.

James famously signed a 7-year, $87 million contract with Nike before even being drafted into the NBA. In 2015, James resigned for a lifetime deal worth a reported $1 billion and more than any other Nike contract given to an athlete.

In August, Nike rereleased the Air Zoom Generation in its “Debut” colorway as part of a wider “retro” treatment for past LeBron sneakers in the same vein as Air Jordans.

James posted an Instagram carousel featuring breakaway dunks from the games 20 years apart that appear eerily similar.

LeBron James Nods to First Sneaker on 20th Anniversary of NBA Debut
LeBron James Nods to First Sneaker on 20th Anniversary of NBA Debut

Nike LeBron NXXT Sneakers

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About the Author:

Ian Servantes is a Senior Trending News Editor for Footwear News specializing in sneaker coverage. He’s previously reported on streetwear and sneakers at Input and Highsnobiety after beginning his career on the pop culture beat. He subscribes to the idea that “ball is life” and doesn’t fuss over his kicks getting dirty.

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