Over the last week many people have given their hot takes about tonight’s NBA Finals match-up. Some seem to think the winner will be whatever team can make the most three pointers will win. Others argue the ability of the bench to score is the X factor. The experts think it depends on if we get passive or aggressive LeBron. Well guess what you’re all wrong!! The truth of the matter is the winner of the NBA Finals boils down to kicks. It’s not what you may think either. The winner will not be who’s shoe has brought in the most revenue. The NBA Finals champion will be based on what team has the most players on their roster with a signature shoe or player edition shoe. Our incredible staff has researched the NBA Finals all the way back to 2010 and this holds true. Seven years seems like enough of a sample size for proper validity. Think this theory is full of crap? Well let’s take a look, but first a little explanation on what we’re defining as a signature shoe and player edition shoe.
Signature shoe: When a player signs with a shoe apparel company, and the company designs and then names that shoe after that player. The shoe will also his/her own logo to go along with the logo of the company. Example: Lonzo Ball signed with Big Baller Brand and has a shoe with them named ZO2.
Player edition: Similar to a signature shoe in that the player is endorsing the company’s brand. However, the company does not design and name a shoe for that player. The company already has a shoe solely associated with the company but will create the shoe in certain colors for that specific player, usually based on the team colors that player plays for. Seldom does the shoe have a logo on it that is the logo for that player. Example: Shawn Marion endorsed Nike and Nike would send him popular Nike shoes in his team color.
Alright so here’s our Sneakerhead Scoring Index: Signature Shoe=3 points I Player Edition Shoe=2 points **Click on the links to see the shoes the players were wearing for that particular series.
2010 NBA Finals: Lakers vs Celtics Winners: Lakers 13 Losers: Celtics:6
The actual series went seven games. However, the stars responsible for the Lakers winning it based on shoe game in 2010 may not be who you think. If your guess is some combination of Kobe, Bynum, Gasol, and Fisher you my friend are way off. The players on the court for the Lakers with the heat on their feet were actually a bunch of role players. Lamar Odom rocking his player edition Nike Hyperdunk 10. Shannon Brown had a pair of Nike player edition Kobe V nicknamed the “Throw It Down” (solely because he got famous via the Slam Dunk competition).In the least likely of players on that squad with signature shoes Sasha Vujacic and Metta World Peace each had their own respective signature shoes with China based company Peak. Obviously, Kobe Bryant had a signature shoe. Mamba rocked his Kobe V signature shoe with Nike.
Although, the Celtics had a Big 3 only one had his own signature shoe. Paul Pierce had a signature shoe with Nike. Ray Allen had lots of player edition shoes via the Jordan brand because you know Ray Ray got game. KG actually had a signature shoe in 2008 but by 2010 Adidas decided to demote him to a player edition shoe. Rondo , who now has a signature shoe with ANTA, had a player edition shoe with Nike at the time. Looks like anyone associated with the Lakers was considered marketable and thus shoe companies were trying to capitalize off that Hollywood spotlight. Maybe Lavar Ball is on to something with not wanting Lonzo going to Boston…
2011 NBA Finals: Mavs vs Heat Winners: Mavs 9 Losers: Heat 8
I’m as shocked as you all that my theory held up with this match-up! It was like reliving the results of this Finals in real life all over again. Putting up major buckets for the Mavs was Jason Kidd with his signature shoe with Peak. Dirk surprisingly did not have a signature shoe and instead had a player edition shoe with Nike. Shawn Marion somehow managed to get a player edition shoe with Nike as well. With the most stylish shoes out of the bunch Jason Terry had a player edition shoe with Reebok.
As usual Bosh couldn’t hold his own for the Big 3. He was the only one out of the Big 3 without a signature shoe. Wade entered the playoffs with his first ever signature shoe via the Jordan brand. LeBron graced the sneaker world with the LeBron 8 PS in this series. Based on Jason Terry’s shoe alone the Mavs deserved the title that year.
2012 NBA Finals: Heat vs Thunder Winners: Heat 10 Losers: Thunder 9
So in 2012 Mario Chalmers stepped his game up. Well kind of he signed a deal with Spalding and had his set of player edition shoes. The Big 3 still had their deals just different designs. LeBron went through about three different models during the playoffs. Although there was a lawsuit about his first signature shoe Wade continued with the Jordan brand and released a second signature shoe after changing his Wade logo. And in typical Bosh fashion he still could not land a signature shoe.
The Westbrook we know today had not quite yet reached his full potential. He was with Nike and was not considered good enough to get a signature shoe just yet. He rocked a pair of player edition Nike Hyperfuse. James Harden like Westbrook was still developing into a MVP caliber player and was wearing player edition Nike Hyperfuse as well. Adidas took a small risk on Serge Ibaka and gave him a player edition shoe, the AdiZero Shadow. KD, being the only recognized superstar on the team had a signature shoe with Nike, KD IV. Even though his teammates mocked him for signing with Spalding, the move by Mario Chalmers may have been the slight edge needed to give LeBron his first title. (I still hate you Chalmers for what you did to my Tigers in 2008)
2013 NBA Finals: Heat vs Spurs Winners: Heat 14 Losers: Spurs 4
Well while the actual series was close, according to the sneaker gods this series was actually over from the beginning. Wade not taking any chances on losing another title decided to sacrifice by leaving the Jordan brand to go to Li-Ning, who in return let Udonis Haslem be one of their representatives. Wade got the signature shoe and Udonis player editions. Ray Allen realizing the lack of swag in Boston left the C’s and joined the squad in South Beach. Bosh stayed on with Nike as a player edition rep, (no other company would take him on…jk but probably true). However, it should be noted Nike let him wear the cool kids pair this time around. LeBron added another signature shoe for the Finals. Chalmers kept collecting checks from Spalding.
The Spurs had no chance in this one. Kawhi was still buying his shoes and no one had a signature shoe. Tony Parker decided to join Peak and somehow was not able to get a signature shoe. Early in his career Tim Duncan was able to get away with having a signature shoe, but Adidas soon realized he’s not very marketable. Therefore, he was rocking a pair of player edition shoes. This whole time I’ve been blaming Ray for making that shot when in actuality the Spurs had no chance.
2014 NBA Finals: Heat vs Spurs Winners: Heat 14 Losers: Spurs 8
So yea this the outlier. And of course the Spurs would be the ones to ruin the fun. But for the sake of the theory let’s just chalk this up to the Heat not developing their shoe game and the Spurs actually deciding to lace em up (see what I did there? horrible I know). Kawhi joined the Jordan brand but no signature shoe and Tony Parker finally got a signature shoe with Peak.
2015 NBA Finals: Warriors vs Cavs Winners: Warriors 8 Losers: Cavs 3
So let me start off by saying that I’m not including Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love as they did not participate enough in this series to deserve recognition from the Sneakerhead Scoring Index. Steph won a MVP trophy and received his first signature shoe with Under Armour. Klay also had a signature shoe with ANTA, a Chinese based company. He unveiled his shoes during All-Star weekend. Andre Iguodala has been with Nike his entire career as a player edition shoe rep. I actually have a pair of his shoes, Nike Zoom Hyperfuse “Stockbrocker” , and they are really comfy and stylish.
LeBron was the only player on his team with any kind of clout in the shoe game. They were clean though.
2016 NBA Finals: Warriors vs Cavs Winners: Cavs 10 Losers: Warriors 10
Alright, I know what you’re thinking here. It’s tied. Correct. I’ll explain it here shortly but first let’s cover the champs and their shoes. LeBron unveiled another signature shoe for the Finals. A healthy Kyrie bailed out LeBron, excuse me I mean balled out, in his new signature shoe, Kyrie 2. Richard Jefferson still living off the fat of the land from his time with the Nets received player edition shoes from Nike. They even gave him a logo! Love left 361 shoes and decided to join Nike as a player edition rep. Rumor has it LeBron kind of forced him to make this move.
The Warriors did not make the mistake the 2014 Heat did and decide to not improve their shoe game. Draymond got in on the fun and was able to get on the Nike bandwagon and get a player edition shoe. Like Jefferson he has a logo on his shoes too. Iggy had some clean sneaks for the series too. Now the reason why the Cavs get the tiebreaker is because the two time MVP Steph Curry released some shoes that not a single real hooper wanted to wear (if you know where to get some let me know I’m not a hooper and I think they’re actually kind of slick). Curry embarrassed decided to wear a different model of his shoes during the Finals. So we learned in 2016 that quantity is not enough. You have to factor in quality.
Predicting 2017 NBA Finals Champ: Warriors vs Cavs Winners: Warriors 13 Losers: Cavs 10
So looks like Bron Bron did not learn from 2014 and did not put any of the guys up on game with Nike. Meanwhile, Curry went out and got KD even though KD is with a rival brand. I guess Curry figured if his shoes ain’t hot in these streets then his legacy will be as a champ. Congrats to the Golden State Warriors on winning the 2017 NBA title!!
It should be noted that MJ was the first NBA player to take the sneaker game to new heights. Coincidence that he has six rings and is the GOAT???