Earlier this week LeBron James passed Michael Jordan to become fourth on the NBA’s All-Time Scoring list. King James now sits behind Kareem, The Mailman Karl Malone, and Kobe Bean Bryant, but is poised to pass all three of them by the year 2023. When the kid from Akron broke into the league we knew he’d be great, but few thought he’d be sitting atop the league’s all-time greatest scorers. What’s even wilder is the fact that LeBron currently stands as the only player in league history to be in the league’s top 10 in scoring and assists. We won’t open up the GOAT conversation but it’s impossible to ignore the well roundedness of LBJ’s game.

LeBron 16 “Air Jordan 3”

Lets take a deeper dive into the shoes LeBron rocked during his record climbing performance – the LeBron 16 “Air Jordan 3” on this fine Spring Forward Sample Sunday:

The Original Inspiration 

LeBron’s “Air Jordan 3” greatness starts with the AJ3, obviously. The shoe debuted in 1988 and was worn during Air Jordan’s famous dunk contest against Dominique Wilkins.

One Step Further

Kobe dunking on Yao in the Air Jordan 3 Kobe PE
Air Jordan Kobe Pack (3 & 8)

Back in 2003 during Kobe Bryan’t sneaker free agency every brand was trying to sign the young Lakers star. Jordan Brand sent Kobe some ‘tester’ shoes dressed in Lakers colors in an attempt to sign him. Bryant ended up signing with Nike and the rest is history, but fans were left with endless ‘what ifs’ surrounding Kobe wearing Jordans.

When Kobe retired in 2016 Michael gifted him with three sets of shoes. One set featured every numbered Air Jordan in white, a second set was the same but dressed in black, and the third set was a pair of Air Jordan 3s and 8s in PE form from back in 2003.

OG Jordan Kobes (not a pack) 3 & 8 via Dependable Jay


The Final Product

LeBron’s design team at Nike fused elements of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to create the LeBron 16 “Air Jordan 3”:

  • The ‘Nike Air’ branding on the heel comes from the ’88 3’s
  • the midsole heel strip of purple is just like the Air Jordan 3 too
  • The color scheme comes from Kobe’s AJ 3 PEs
  • The yellow and purple tongue logo mirrors Kobe’s Jordan 3 logo, but this time it’s LeBron’s ‘Dunkman’ logo
  • Instead of using elephant print on the heel and toe, Nike used graffiti print with words like passion, witness, believe and fearless. Graffiti print has been used on various LeBron kicks throughout the years like the LeBron 4, LeBron 11 and 15.

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