Kobe Bryant played his entire NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he was selected by the Charlotte Hornets during the 1996 NBA Draft. Nike’s upcoming Kobe 11 release is a nod to the team that chose him.
The Nike Kobe XI “Draft Day” arrives Thursday and will retail for $160.
The now retired baller was drafted 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets — now the New Orleans Pelicans after relocating in 2002 — and traded on draft day to the Lakers for veteran center Vlade Divac. To commemorate the day the 37-year-old former Lakers guard came into the league, Nike included “6.26.96” on the right shoe’s heel.
The “Draft Day” color palette mimics the colors the Hornets wore on the court, featuring the brand’s blue lagoon, court purple and white hues. Sitting atop the shoe’s white sole is a predominantly white upper with bold color pops from its blue and purple Swoosh branding, blue atop the tongue with Bryant’s logo in purple, and blue on the collar and heel panels. The shoe also comes with mostly purple with blue speckle laces and four red horizontal stripes on the left heel panel.
Bryant put on a spectacular performance during the final game of his career, dropping 60 points on the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on April 13 in the Lakers 101-96 win.