Appealing designs in the sneaker world are often referred to as “heat,” which is certainly appropriate for the shoes LeBron James arrived wearing to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland before Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night. Not only were the sneakers in question a never-before-seen purple suede colorway of his first signature shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Generation from 2003, but they were also literally fireproof.
The retro edition of James’ special Air Zoom Generation is constructed in the same suede used for Nascar racer Denny Hamlin’s Jordan Brand racing boots, made with a special treatment for safety precautions. Shortly after James arrived at the game and photos of his sneakers began making the rounds on social media, Hamlin himself shared a photo of his custom footwear and explained the relation to the basketball star’s shoe on his own Twitter feed.
For anybody who might be hoping to pick up his or her own pair of the fireproof kicks, there’s some bad news. The purple suede Air Zoom Generations will remain a one-of-one only for The King himself. This is the second time this NBA postseason that James has arrived to a game wearing a sneaker that created buzz; he debuted the upcoming John Elliott x Nike LeBron Icon collaboration in May.
Unfortunately the pregame heat on his feet didn’t help the Cavs last night, as the team has now fallen to 0-3 in the series after Kevin Durant led the Warriors to a third straight win with his 43-point performance.