LeBron James Chooses Throwback-Inspired Kicks for His Los Angeles Lakers Debut

All eyes were on LeBron James last night when he made his long-awaited debut as the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers — the team faced off against the Portland Trailblazers — sporting his latest signature sneaker in a colorway that James fans know well.

The Nike LeBron 16 “King” draws inspiration from the brand’s throwback ad dating back to 2003, which featured the 18-year-old prodigy at the center of the campaign surrounded by three massive lions, earning himself the nickname “King James” before having ever played in the NBA. The LeBron 16 designer Jason Petrie told ESPN’s Nick DePaula that “the luxurious burgundy tones, the gold detailing, his original [LJ23] logo and the animal fur — a combination of the lions and the animal pelt he had draped over the throne — are all there as nods to that poster.”

 

Nike LeBron 16 "King" AO2588-601
Nike LeBron 16 “King”

Coordinating with James’ lion print kicks, he also wore a cheetah print arm sleeve for the game last night. King James’ entire repertoire was on full display last night, racking up an impressive 26 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and one steal, all the while sporting the purple and gold.

Prior to the start of the 2018-19 season, NBA announced that players are now allowed to wear any color sneakers, not needing to match uniforms. As the season progresses, Nike will once again feature the #LeBronWatch campaign, in which the All-Star forward is expected to showcase a bevy of colorways inspired by the signature models in James’ footwear lineage.

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