Kobe Bryant is the inspiration behind retired NBA legend Dwyane Wade’s latest sneaker. On Sunday, Wade gave fans a first look at the new colorway of his signature shoe, Way of Wade. In the short clip posted on Instagram, the former Miami Heat star shows off three different designs that pay tribute to his fallen opponent and friend.
Both of Bryant’s numbers are visible on the tongue of each shoe, which are decorated in Los Angeles Lakers colors. Mamba famously began his storied NBA career wearing the No. 8 before ultimately rocking No. 24 at the time of his retirement. Right above the numbers are halos. The inner sole of the sneaker displays a common phrase said by Bryant: “Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses.”
Though Wade lists Michael Jordan as his personal GOAT, the three-time NBA Finals champion has long regarded Bryant as one of this top-five players of all time.
“My list has definitely changed. Thats hard to pick man. MJ is my fave of all time. LeBron is right there. Kobe Bryant. Allen Iverson. If I had to pick one more it would be Shaq,” the 38-year-old said in a Bleacher Report Q&A in April.
Wade also discussed his long-time relationship with Bryant, emphasizing the mutual respect they had for each other.
“I built one. Early on Kobe didn't have a lot of relationships,” Wade explained. “I got a chance to build one with the respect of Kobe. I can call him anytime and vice versa. That's one of the relationships that I'm proud of. To be able to have one with one of my fave players of all time was special.”
A fitting tribute for Black Mamba.
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