Kobe Bean Bryant. His legacy precedes him, his relentless competitiveness and winning pedigree made him a legend.
Nike has done a phenomenal job with telling this story through Kobe's signature shoe line.
In 2003, back when he rocked the number 8, Kobe signed a four-year, $40 million deal with the Swoosh brand. He was just 24-years-old with three NBA championships to his name. But megastar Shaquille O'Neal's departure to Miami the following summer (Kobe's alleged involvement aside) left the prodigious shooting guard to be the team leader.
This era birthed the Black Mamba – one of the fiercest, most cunning players the NBA has ever seen.
Driven by an insatiable hunger to win, the evolution came complete with a return to his high school jersey number, 24, in 2006. The very same jersey Bryant wore as he won an additional two NBA championships, a MVP season, two NBA Finals MVPs, two Scoring Championships, five straight All-Defensive First Team, and too many other accolades to count.
And then there was a certain record-breaking 81-point performance.
The aforementioned feats and more can all be found in one way or another in this list of Stadium Goods' most expensive Kobe sneaker. See what made the cut below.
10. Nike Zoom Kobe 6 Prelude
Style: 640220 001
Link: Nike Zoom Kobe 6 Prelude
Nike gave Kobe Bryant his roses while he could still smell them with 2014's epic "Prelude Pack," a collection comprised of Kobe signature models one through eight (all that existed at the time).
Each shoe was designed with one of Kobe's most defining moments in mind. (Expect a bulk of the "Prelude Pack" to appear on this list.) Here, we highlight the Zoom Kobe 6, the one shoe directly inspired by the Laker's menacing alter-ego, The Black Mamba – a venomous snake indigenous to parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
This vibrant edition released in a limited run and celebrates Kobe's 2011 All-Star MVP award, which he won on his home court. The design is a homage to Los Angeles, as it features images of ocean life like sharks and starfish across the graphic upper akin to what swims in the Pacific Ocean bordering Kobe Bryant’s longtime home.
9. Nike Kobe 8 System Prelude
Style: 639655 900
The Nike Kobe 8 is designer Eric Avar's direct response to Kobe Bryant's request for a responsive shoe that acted as an extension of his foot, requiring it mirror his quick performance while staying lower to the ground.
Needless to say that this was no easy feat, but Avar rose to the occasion by introducing Nike Engineered Mesh to a basketball silhouette for the first time ever – anchored by an ultra-lightweight fit thanks to 90 percent mesh construction. Tightly woven for strength and flexibility, the result was 360 degrees of breathability.
The Kobe 8 was the eighth and final member of the "Prelude Pack," inspired by the process of "Reflection." The theme deeply resonated with the future NBA Hall of Famer's disposition at the time, as he was recovering from a torn Achilles tendon – essentially a death sentence for the average 34-year-old player's career. It features a multicolored graphic upper and mirrored silver accents on the heel.
8. Nike Zoom Kobe 2 Prelude
Style: 640222 001
Link: Nike Zoom Kobe 2 Prelude
If you're wondering why this Zoom Kobe 2 sports a marbled look, it's because Nike found inspiration in how Kobe Bryant carved his place in basketball history one game at a time. The marble graphic upper sports a grey colors scheme, with a white Swoosh and gold accents being the only deterrent from the look.
7. Nike Kobe 11 Elite Low "Fade To Black"
Style: 869459 001
Debuted between March 22, 2016, and April 13, 2016, the Nike Kobe "Fade To Black" Pack is perhaps the most conceptual release to bear the Mamba's name.
It was comprised of all eleven Kobe signature shoes, the Huarache 2k4, and the Hyperdunk '08 to honor his final NBA season, and a 13 year working relationship with Nike. The models slowly transition from white with the Huarache 2k4 to a darker hue with each following shoe. Black finally appears on his final on-court model, the Kobe 11.
The "Fade To Black" edition of the aforementioned sneaker is one of the most sought-after versions. The entire upper and sole are black, while metallic gold Swooshes and details on the heels add the perfect touch.
6. Nike Zoom Kobe 5 Prelude
Style: 639691 700
Link: Nike Zoom Kobe 5 Prelude
The Nike Kobe 5 continued the trend of low top silhouettes that began with its predecessor. But this silhouette is lower and lighter than before.
The vibrant "Prelude Pack" version calls out Kobe's place in pop culture, which explains the boldness of the Nike Flywire. The gold Swoosh honors the NBA championship and Finals MVP he earned in this shoe after leading the Lakers to victory over the Boston Celtics in 2010.
5. Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Prelude
Style: 640221 001
Link: Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Prelude
81. When mentioning Kobe Bryant, the number is ubiquitous, forever a reminder of the happenings on January 22, 2006. On that night, the Mamba put on a show, as he scored a whopping 81 points on the Toronto Raptors (sorry Jalen Rose).
The Zoom Kobe 1 "Prelude Pack" recalls the otherworldly performance, with an avant garde design grounded by a textured reptilian leather upper and a surrealism style graphic on the Swoosh and ankle that references that legendary night. A tag is stitched into the insole calls out the point total. An icy clear outsole completes the design.
4. Nike Zoom Kobe 6 "Grinch"
Style: 429659 701
One of the most popular Kobe Bryant signature shoe colorways ever, the Kobe 6 received this festive “Grinch” look for Christmas in 2010. Bean broke out the pair for the highly anticipated matchup against the new-look Miami Heat, led by LeBron James.
An instant classic then and sought out by any collector of Kobe shoes, the eponymous shoe is a play on the iconic Dr. Suess character, with its bright green look having an eye-catching effect. The upper sports two-toned green scales, with a black Swoosh and red Kobe branding on the tongue to complete the Christmas theme.
Unfortunately, Bron Bron and company handed the Lakeshow a humbling loss. However, the day would be a win for fans sitting courtside, who received the sneaker in a special gift bag.
3. Nike Kobe 9 Elite Premium
Style: 678301 001
After displaying a preference for low-top models, the Kobe 9 Elite switched up the flow with its high-top design, without sacrificing the lightness of the shoe.
Nike launched the shoe in one of its best looks ever with this rare version, featuring a black Flyknit upper and reflective silver accents. Perfect for the Mamba mentality on the court, this pair and another in a Black/Volt-White colorway released exclusively 21 Mercer and Dover Street Market New York in 2014.
2. Nike Kobe 6 "Vault Anniversary"
Style: 446897 992
The Kobe 6 "Vault Anniversary" was released in 2011 to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Los Angeles' Nike Vault, located just outside of the Staples Center. The retail space housed many exclusive Kobe releases, and this was no different.
A simple black, grey and gold colorway defines this Kobe 6, but the packaging is anything but elementary. A special safety deposit box houses the snake-textured kicks to ensure that the release was thematically sound. Those lucky enough to purchase also received a matching Nike AW-77 Hoodie.
Only 24 packs were released, making the Kobe 6 "Vault Anniversary" a rare gem.
1. Nike Kobe 9 Premium "HTM"
Style: 698595 109
Nike's HTM line is the brainchild of President and CEO Mark Parker, fragment design founder Hiroshi Fujiwara and Nike Innovation Leader Tinker Hatfield. The acronym, simple in concept, represents each of their first names, but product the trio produces tends to be much more advanced.
For proof, see how this extremely limited HTM edition of the Kobe 9 Premium Low integrated Flyknit, Lunarlon, and Flywire technology. Not to mention how the fashionable mutlicolor design on the upper is beautifully offset by a white overlay, black Swoosh and midsole, and a gum outsole.
As a result, consumers received arguably the shoe's best look ever. But here's the downside: this pair and the black colorway released exclusively at Nike Stadium Milano and Excelsior in Milan.