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Dec 16, 2015
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Kobe Bryant's final NBA season has been anything but low key.

After the five-time champion and former MVP announced that he will be hanging it up after 2015-2016 season, countless tribute videos and farewell messages from the whole basketball world came. Each road game had also become some sort of an emotional send-off for the Los Angeles Lakers-lifer.

Amid the revelry, Nike debuted the Kobe XI—a shoe largely expected to be the Black Mamba's last as an active player—at a launch event at the Nike Vault in Los Angeles last December 14 (U.S. time).

While it intriguingly looks like one of its predecessors, the Kobe 9 Low, you'd be a fool to think that they are just the same.

For one, the low-top marvel is equipped with the newest in Flyknit technology, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) threads, which assures superior strength, as well as signature qualities of the Kobe performance basketball footwear line: high-performance, lightweight, responsive and sophisticated.

Its launch colorway comes in deep red and black, aptly named "Achilles Heel," an eponymous tribute to both the Greek hero and Kobe's career arc. On the heel of the right shoe is a graphic representation of Achilles while the left shoe sports four stitch marks, representing the four feet of thread used in Kobe's 2013 Achilles surgery.

With the release of the Kobe XI, Kobe reminisced on his shoe design legacy, which coincided with his illustrious basketball journey:

So if you adore the legendary, mercurial shooting guard, it would be blasphemous not to cop the XI—if only because these may be the last kicks he'd actually get to wear on an NBA court.


The Kobe XI "Achilles Heel" and coordinated apparel will be available on January 9 globally at nike.com and select retail locations.

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