Kobe Bryant’s First Nike Signature Sneaker Returns In Classic ‘Minneapolis’ Colorway

A retro inspired by a throwback — that’s the basic story behind this upcoming colorway of the Nike Kobe 1 Protro, which returns this week in its original colorway from 2006 designed to match the Los Angeles Lakers’ Minneapolis Lakers throwback uniforms.

After 12 years since its first appearance, the sneaker Kobe Bryant collectors have long hoped to get another chance at returns July 10.

Long before the Championship-winning Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson and even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar eras of the Los Angeles Lakers, the storied franchise can trace its roots all the way back to Minneapolis. If you’ve ever wondered why a team in Los Angeles is nicknamed the “Lakers,” a city with no lakes, it’s because they originally hail from the “Land of a Thousand Lakes.”

Minneapolis Lakers
Minneapolis Lakers, circa 1949.

Back in their Minneapolis days, when the team was led by legendary center George Mikan, the Lakers didn’t wear the purple and gold you associate the franchise with today, but sported powder blue, white and yellow as their colors. And that’s the color palette you see reflected in this Kobe 1, which was designed to match the throwback uniforms the team wore for select games during the 2005-06 season, when the shoe was originally on Bryant’s feet.

Kobe Bryant Lakers Throwback
Kobe Bryant wearing the Minneapolis Lakers throwback uniform in 2005.

Now as the Kobe 1 Protro, the classic colorway returns in the sneaker’s slightly modified design, first released this spring, updated with a more lightweight construction, full-length Zoom Air cushioning and a better fit than the original Kobe 1 from 2006. Pairs arrive tomorrow on the Nike SNKRS app for $175.

Kobe 1 Protro MPLS
Detail of Nike Kobe 1 Protro “Minneapolis.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike
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