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Clippers Sneaker Watch: The heat has moved to the team’s bench

Casual sneakers are supposed to look better than hoop shoes, after all.

Los Angeles Lakers v LA Clippers Photo by Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images

Injuries and COVID protocols have tormented the Clippers.

From playing games without L.A.’s world-renowned superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to losing the team’s core pieces like Nicolas Batum, Reggie Jackson, and Marcus Morris Sr., there was more than enough reason to be upset over the first 39 games of the season.

But some see the glass as half full and not half empty, right? In the eyes of sneakerheads like myself, having some of the league’s most popular players sidelined might have its upside: eye-catching kicks on the bench.

That’s not to say George didn’t break necks with his never-before-seen Player Exclusive PG 2’s on the court.

Before his injury, George has been seen wearing this colorway of his signature shoes for quite a few games. While the color scheme might not have touches of Clipper red, its blue and metallic silver Nike swoosh does make this pair shine — especially when PG plays the way he’s played this season.

Los Angeles Clippers v Portland Trail Blazers
Paul George is seen wearing a Player Exclusive pair of the PG 2s.
Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

The same goes for these wavy purple and crimson PE’s.

The white accents work to tone down the bright hues of crimson and purple. And the waves of purple are just another reason why these PGs are fan-favorites.

LA Clippers v Sacramento Kings
Paul George plays in another pair of exclusive PG 2s.
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

George’s on-foot magic didn’t quite die down even when he was sidelined. If anything, it became more magical and mystical.

The Air Jordan 4 ‘White Oreo’ has been one of the more popular releases in 2021. A reiteration of the color-blocking from the acclaimed Air Jordan 4 ‘White Cement’, this pair helps bring together George’s off-court style.

Boston Celtics v LA Clippers
George is rocking the ‘White Oreo’ Air Jordan 4s.
Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

His superstar partner, Kawhi Leonard, also made statements on the bench with his partner brand New Balance. Although not necessarily known for flamboyance or flashiness on and off the hardwood, the five-time All-Star (and his sneakers) has been pretty loud on the sideline.

Take, for example, an unreleased pair of New Balance 997’s dipped in animal print.

Unfortunately, I haven’t paid enough attention in biology class to name-drop all of the different animal prints incorporated in this design. Still, I can appreciate how well these loud prints work in harmony to bring some color into Kawhi’s life.

Phoenix Suns v LA Clippers
Kawhi Leonard in the New Balance 997’s.
Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Even in a more readily available pair of the 550s, Leonard still manages to stay trendy. As it’s not as full of color as the animal-themed pair above, its appeal comes from its simplicity and lack of adornment.

LA Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
The New Balance 550’s on Kawhi Leonard’s feet.
Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Now, it’s not just the team’s two superstars that put on a sneaker show on the bench.

It starts with the team’s Frenchman in 33. He is, I believe, an accurate representation of the famous French saying by Yves Saint Laurent: “Les modes passent, le style est éternel.”

Putting on a holy grail pair of the Nike Dunk SB High “Tiffany”s from 2014, Batum showed a taste of his style to the sneaker world. This pair, a collaboration with Diamond Supply Co., costs a pretty penny, ranging from $600 all the way to $1300.

Los Angeles Lakers v LA Clippers
Nicolas Batum is seen wearing the Nike Dunk SB High “Tiffany”s.
Photo by Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images

His teammate Morris rocked Clipper colors even on the sidelines. With hints of university red on the Nike swoosh, laces, and the outsole, the Nike LD Waffle was a nice way the forward supported the team off the court.

Chicago Bulls v LA Clippers
Marcus Morris Sr. in the Nike LD Waffle’s.
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

However excited the fans (especially the sneakerheads) can get over pairs of shoes, we know how much more excited we’ll be to see our favorite Clippers be on the floor, torching other teams.

It’s their game that’s more stylish and eye-catching than their shoes, after all.