From black and white Converse Chuck Taylors in the 70s to SpongeBob SquarePants Kyrie 5s, the NBA sneaker game has come a long way. While every player has their go-to shoe and their unique style on their feet, the very best of these players are blessed with the opportunity to have their own player-exclusive or signature shoe that they get to design, wear, and even tell a story with.
The LA Clippers, in particular, have been and continue to be home to superstars with their own signature shoes — the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Chris Paul. Whether it’s in Clipper-colored Jordans or holiday-themed New Balances, they never fail to turn heads. Today, we’ll look back at some of the flashiest and prettiest of them and rank them.
Here’s a list of my favorite player-exclusive and signature shoes.
No. 10: New Balance KAWHI “Santa Klaws”
Clipper superstar Kawhi Leonard brought out heat on Christmas day with his signature shoe with New Balance. Drawing inspiration from the snow wasset — a creature that resembles the persistence and composure Kawhi plays with — his signature shoes took on an original approach at a shoe for the winter holidays.
No. 9: Jordan Super.Fly 2, Blake Griffin PE
Former Clipper and six-time NBA All-Star put on a show with both his forceful finishes at the rim and his J’s — maybe these shoes added a few inches to his 35.5-inch vertical! The added touches of bright red on the baby blue upper of the shoe are eye-catching, to say the least.
No. 8: Under Armour Spine Bionic, Deandre Jordan PE
While the “Santa Klaws” were a quite different approach to Christmas day kicks, Deandre Jordan’s shoes SCREAM Christmas: they are the perfect mix of the festive red and green. I’m sure DJ was able to deliver dunks in these holiday-themed shoes, the way Santa easily delivers presents on Christmas day.
No. 7: Peak “Underground Goat”
Spot number seven goes to my favorite former Clipper’s sneakers from Peak. Lou Williams was my favorite player because, alongside Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell, he embodied the persistence and toughness of this organization; likewise, his shoes embody the Clippers — in the colors, at least. The mix of blue, red, and white not only complements the Clipper uniforms perfectly, but the word “Underground” written on the upper of the shoe is an added stylish element and a testament to Sweet Lou’s commendable yet underappreciated career.
No. 6: Jordan CP3.VII PE
Former Clipper Chris Paul has, in my opinion, one of the underrated signature shoes. They don’t get the attention they deserve, especially the older models. These CP3s in particular are fun to look at. While the bright neon makes the shoe stand out, the camouflage pattern of unique green and orange hues makes these shoes hard to forget.
No. 5: BrandBlack J. Crossover I
Did you know that Jamal Crawford has a signature shoe? Well, now you know and you won’t regret seeing them. His high-top sneakers from BrandBlack are dipped in Clipper colors. The wing-like — or even graffiti-like — pattern on the upper of these shoes perhaps reflects the former Sixth Man of the Year’s play on the court: he “flies” past defenders and scores with ease on any given possession.
The subtle touches, the chrome BrandBlack logo, and his jersey number written on the side of the shoes, helped the silhouette make it to the top five of my list.
No. 4: Nike PG 1 “Flip the Switch”
Although the PG 1 was released in 2017, long before his tenure for his hometown team, Paul George decided to spice things up with his older model in the Orlando bubble. This GR (general release) colorway stands out because the bright pink and metallic blue are contrasted with the solid black of the upper perfectly.
The more I stare at this pair, the more I feel the need to add them to my collection before I suit up for my basketball season next year.
No. 3: New Balance KAWHI X Jolly Rancher
Kawhi’s New Balance sneakers make another appearance on the list, this time in a different color. These kicks help us understand a little more about a composed and unostentatious superstar in Kawhi. Here’s the story: Jolly Rancher was his favorite childhood candy, so it was a no-brainer for Kawhi to put that on his shoes.
As much as I love the myriad of bright colors of these shoes, my favorite detail is the expressionless faces of Jolly Ranchers’ fruit gang characters on the tongue of the shoes, characteristic of Kawhi’s lack of emotion.
No. 2: Nike PG 4 Gatorade PE
PG just has the best on-court sneakers. This player-exclusive colorway is a collaboration with Gatorade, hence the lightning bolt on the inside of the sneakers. When fully zipped, the PG 4s are a sleek silhouette; when unzipped, though, they provide a little more flavor (just like a bottle of cold Gatorade!).
This pair, to me, is the best of both worlds: it has just the right amount of crazy colors and the right amount of a chic and classy black. I mean, even PG plays with the best of both worlds, flash and elegance. Like player, like shoe, right?
No. 1: Jordan 11 CP3 PE
The Clippers’ career assists leader now has another achievement to add to his long list of accolades. I hereby announce to you the first Clipper sneaker champion, Chris Paul!
Paul has an edge over most players as his PE is done on the Jordan 11 silhouette, one of the most coveted Jordan models of all time (second behind the 1s, in my opinion). The upper, laces, and the midsole are all of the same bright red, all contrasted by the icy blue outsole. The Jordan 11s signature patent leather and the Jumpman logo in a nice metallic blue make this pair a holy grail for a sneakerhead like me.
Which of these shoes was your favorite? Is there one I missed? Let us know in the comments below.