Sole Searching: NBA MVP Contenders Ranked by Signature Sneakers

Zack Jones

Thursday, September 14, 2017 2:02 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017 2:02 PM UTC

Are there any correlation between shoe sales and MVP odds? We run down some of the MVP favorites and talk signature shoes and their chances at taking home the title of Most Valuable Player next season.

This week Russell Westbrook inked a 10 year extension with Nike’s Jordan brand, making him the most lucrative endorsee the brand has ever had.

Sure, Westbrook clinched the league’s MVP trophy last year averaging a Triple-Double, but his inflated stats line really didn’t make his team an honest contender. Now that Russ is required to share the ball handling duties with the newly acquired Paul George, one would expect his stat line to regress somewhat, likely removing him from the MVP conversation, right? Well, we all remember the numbers he managed to produce when sharing the court with Kevin Durant.

This got us thinking… is there any correlation between shoe sales and MVP odds?

Let’s do some ‘Sole Searching’ here and rank our favorite player shoes and stack them up with their player’s MVP odds.
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Harden Crazylight Boost Low Basketball Shoes 40-46 #adidas #

— as5ds5ccccs1 (@liwenfu00071) September 14, 2017
6. James Harden (HOU) +800
Compared to some of the flashier shoes currently on the market, the Adidas Hardens look relatively tame. Harden’s rise to fame came as the Sixth Man of the Year for OKC, where he shared the court with two other names on this list. Harden is the face… well he beard of the franchise in Houston, but this year he will share court managing duties with Chris Paul. While CP3 has already peaked as a player, there is no doubting that he will still demand the ball and aim to be the focal point of this team?

Will this lead to issues? Possibly. However, we have seen Harden succeed as the role player rather than the star, and it might be a position he fades into this year to avoid locker room issues.

 CP3 will get his, and ultimately this will cut into Hardens production. Harden was a willing candidate last season, but this year CP3 will eat into his stat line.
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Nike Air Jordan Westbrook 0.2 Black Red BRED Banned Basketball Shoes - Size 11.5  $74.99 - | #WomensAthleticShoes |

— Check The Kicks (@checkthekicks) August 3, 2017
5. Russell Westbrook (OKC) +400
Ok, so I actually own a pair of these. As mentioned earlier… Russ wears all sorts of Jordans, but his signature show is more of a street style look. I can get behind that a bit. You do look kind of funny showing up to an office sporting the newest from the Kevin Durant collection, but the Westbrooks will suit you fine at school, church and even a funeral. They are the Triple-Doubles of NBA signature shoes (convenient huh?).

Look, I like the shoes… but Westbrook winning the MVP last year reminds me a lot of Notre Dame playing in the FBS Championship game a few years back. Was it deserved... no. Did we have to give them the spot... yes.

Congrats to the only trophy you will have from your NBA career, because I don’t see another one coming down the pipe anytime soon.

Hi @kawhileonard, i hope to have a pair of your shoes! But for now, this 👇🏼 shoes will be my J31 "Kawhi"! 💟 love you forever. Get well man!

— Princess Aray Stark (@callmelel) May 22, 2017

4. Kawhi Leonard (SA) +550
Let’s air this out first… Is there anyone in the NBA who gives a shittier interview than Kawhi Leonard? For the love of god… have some personality man.

The Kawhi Leonard Jordans match his personality. Bland but athletic. I want to be clear. There is nothing bland about the wonder kid’s playing style, but these shoes differ from the field in the fact that they shy away from the flashy colors and gimmicky gags.

Something tells me Popovich designed these things.

As far as MVP odds go, the West is stacked, and it just got harder. Kawhi will still be the featured player on a Western Conference team, but will it be good enough to take home this award? I think that the line is too high. If he was listed at +1500… maybe. But just like these kicks… I’m not buying here.
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The insoles from the Nike KD 10 “Finals” 👀@KDTrey5 literally stepping on his haters

— B/R Kicks (@br_kicks) September 12, 2017
3. Kevin Durant (GS) +500 
I’m going to focus on the KD 10 Finals shoes that just dropped last Friday, and as a longtime Kevin Durant fan… I’m going to have to get real for a minute.

I was one of the first to jump on KD in his Thunder days when it seemed that he lacked that killer instinct you often find in players with his abilities. That Kobe mentality where you demand the last shot in every situation. Did Westbrook hold him back? Maybe we will be lucky enough to have a 30 for 30 on that relationship I few years down the line, so I will leave that topic alone for now.

The shoe goes on to list all of the insults and negative terms used to describe him and his game, only to be written over by his stats and accolades. 

Part of me misses the old ‘Thunderstruck’ KD. The young, quiet, respectful player that despite being one of the most dynamic talents in the league, still managed to come off as a normal, likeable class act. In a league full of Kobe’s and LeBron’s… he gave us a good guy to pull for.

The rest of me loves this ‘Kevin with some fire in his belly’. A shoe aimed at all of his haters... a Red Velvet Cupcake edition… How can you hate this? This is almost as cicy at THE 3-pointer he dumped on LeBron in Game 3. (I would lay big money that this was the exact moment he decided to design this bad boy. Look at his face... tell me I'm wrong)

As much of a fan boy that I am, I just don’t see Durant taking home the MVP next season. The warriors are going to win it all. He will likely be the Finals MVP once again. It’s almost like the league has to give something to someone else.

I only hope this is a one-time thing though. Funny can become old really quick, and throwing shade at your haters too much eventually turns you into someone who is in fact hateable. Scoring leader, Finals MVP, NBA Champion. No one is questioning your ability. But I don’t need a shoe to reminded of this every year. What’s next? A shoe featuring your Wiki page on the insole?
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Who's ready for the Nike LeBron Zoom Soldier 11 'Finals'?

— Solely Sneakers (@SolelySneakers) September 6, 2017
2. LeBron James (CLE) +400
Leave it to LeBron to call his new signature shoe ‘The Soldier’. In all honesty, I’m stunned he didn’t take it a step further and simply go with ‘The Messiah’.

As long as he can still lace up (which is not a requirement on these shoes by the way) and hit the floor, LeBron will always be an MVP front runner. LeBron has won this award 4 times already, leaving him one away from matching the 5 held by both Bill Russel and Michael Jordan.

Despite what he might try to tell you, stats mean everything to LeBron. He is not going to beat the Warriors this season, and he knows it. Second place is just that… second place and another empty spot in his trophy case.

LeBron will post MVP numbers this year and tear through the pathetic Eastern Conference, giving the hometown fans one last chance to witness greatness before he packs his bags and takes his talents to Los Angeles next summer.
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The #Nike Kyrie 3 'Kyrache' in-stores & online now. Shop|

— Hibbett Sports (@HibbettSports) September 8, 2017
1. Kyrie Irving (BOS) +1600
As Nike describes it, “The Kyrie 3 Basketball Shoe combines excellent traction, flexible support and responsive cushioning to enable razor-sharp cuts and fast, fluid play.” That sounds about right to me. Love him or hate him, Kyrie remains one of the best, if not the best, finishers in the game. “Flexable support’ is something we saw him also provide LeBron for the past three years, but the true test now comes as he has decided to carry Boston on his back.

Not only am I a fan of this shoe, but I also like this option strictly from a value perspective. Kyrie struggled early in his career as the feature name on the roster, and while he lacked support and a coaching staff, he managed to develop into the perfect Robin to LeBron’s Batman.

In Boston, he will be surrounded by some of the best young talent in the league and backed by an amazing coaching staff. Will he thrive and become an MVP contender? At +1600, that is a risk worth taking.

Sidenote: Celtics players have combined for 10 MVPs, the most of any team in the league. Interesting to note, the 10 awards were earned by only four players, most recently Larry Bird in 1986.

Honorable mention:
While we can talk all day about MVP odds without mentioning his name, we can’t talk NBA kicks without bringing Lonzo Ball into the mix.

I think that Big Baller Brand shot themselves in the foot a bit (no pun intended) by releasing these around Thanksgiving. Lonzo starts flat… shoe sales drop. On the other hand, if he come out of the gates hot, it could be the perfect timing as most players already released their shoes before the season got underway, making him the flavor of the week.

Only a handful of betting sites offer Lonzo’s MVP odds, but you can currently grab him at 500/1. I love a tasty longshot, but we all saw the kind of numbers Westbrook had to put up to win the title last year while playing on a hopeless Thunder team. There is no way Lonzo can match that performance, and his supporting cast in LA are not enough to put the team into title talks. Rookie of the year? Maybe.

With LeBron likely joining him in AL next year, not only is Lonzo far from winning an MVP this year, but his future chances will likely be hindered by King James.
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Balls in your mouth...  #bigballerthings #LonzoBall #LaVarBallSays #ZO2 @TylerIAm @Hoops_Hype1

— Zack Jones (@Zack_SBR) May 9, 2017

Thoughts, suggestions or simply want to complain that your favorite pair didn't make the list? Let us know in the comment section. Give us your all time top player shoes as well as your MVP thoughts. 

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