Heart and sole: LeBron shows Manila love through sneakers
MANILA, Philippines — The love between LeBron James and Filipino basketball fans is mutual.
The three-time NBA champion has visited the country thrice since 2013 and for the past several years, James has taken that love affair to greater heights through his sneakers.
James’ first sneaker that paid homage to the Philippines was the LeBron 14 ‘Agimat’ in 2017.
The shoe took inspiration from Filipino folklore and culture. Adding a major Filipino touch are the words “Para sa Kadakilaan” written on each pull tabs.
James wore the pair when he lit up the Raptors with 35 points in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series back in 2017.
It turns out, the LeBron 14 was just an introduction as the ‘Agimat’ hues made a second appearance this time, on the LeBron Soldier 12 the following year.
The Soldier 12 ‘Agimat’ was dressed in the same hues of navy blue with gold hits.
For the third straight year, the Agimat colors returned in the LeBron 16 low, which features Titan’s symbol on the left heel and James’ logo on the right.
The sneaker marked the first official collaboration between James and basketball specialty concept store.
James laced these up during a preseason game against the Golden State Warriors last year during his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
James released the LeBron 17 low ‘Titan’ earlier this month.
Unlike the previous reiterations, the sneaker came in red with gold accents and features a React Foam Cushioning for a soft and springy yet stable feel.
The shoe made its debut on the court when James and the Los Angeles Lakers played the Toronto Raptors last August 2.
More than just sneakers
For basketball players, fans and sneakerheads alike, appreciation for sneakers goes beyond the aesthetics and comfort.
That’s why it hits different when a superstar athlete like James gets to celebrate a part of the Filipino culture when he laces up a pair of Philippine-inspired sneakers.
“Doing this kind of stuff is such a huge thing for us Filipinos, especially for us sneakerheads here. I think it’s a good thing also for our country even on a small scale. It shows how big basketball in the country really is,” PBA star LA Tenorio said.
“For LeBron to accept that collaboration, it just shows how important the Philippines is for him. Just like Kobe. I don’t think there’s any other country that has a collaboration with him. It’s something that makes me feel good and proud.”
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