Games 1 and 2 of the Knicks-Celtics series has shown the best sneakers by some of your favorite players. Between Carmelo Anthony’s brand spanking new Air Jordan Melo M9 Playoff Edition to the back-to-back appearances of the throwback Air Jordan 2, 5, and 8 unearthed by Quentin Richardson, pure sneaker gold has been touching the floor of Madison Square Garden. The only footwear possibly giving them some competition are Spike Lee’s custom Knicks-inspired Cole Haan shoes. Okay, maybe that’s like comparing apples to oranges. The Knickerbocker signature colorways are strong with this group though. Check out our roundup below and leave a comment with your favorite from the past two playoff games.
Carmelo Anthony has earned the scoring title for the 2012-13 NBA season. You mad? For some reason, Kevin Durant’s post on Instagram about not striving for that goal last night seemed like a slight jab at Melo, who went H.A.M. this season as the league’s leading scorer. So, Durant’s is number two in this points scored statistical category, and you know what, his KD V, in my biased opinion, are also second to Melo’s Air Jordan Melo M8 Advance from last year. To be fair, I’ve never slipped on a pair of Durant’s KD V.
Put aside the points per game stats of both of these forwards for a moment. Forget Oklahoma City’s astounding team record (60-21) versus the Knicks’ impressive 54 wins. If Durant’s sneakers are so fly, why has Melo bested him for scoring leader? My argument simply boils down to that ubiquitous catchphrase coined by Spike Lee (a.k.a Mars Blackmon), “It’s the shoes.” Those three words that came out of Spike’s mouth with vigor, declared that the Air Jordan signature sneaker is the reason why His Airness was able to soar to unseen heights, even though Jordan begged to differ. With all respect to MJ’s skills,
Mars Spike wasn’t willing to hand over credit to him so easily—probably because of his known die-hard allegiance to the Knicks. These are different times though: Jordan is retired, now Melo carries the torch of Jordan Brand in New York. If Mars Blackmon was resurrected from the ’90s, would he give props to Melo or his shoes? Ultimately, he’d have to favor the M8 Advance, Melo’s go-to shoe. He debuted them in the summer of 2012, as early as July when Anthony dominated in the Olympics setting a new USA Basketball record with 37 points (10 3-pointers), defeating Nigeria by a margin of 83 points. Fast forward to his second full season with the Knicks, he’s tied Bernard King’s record for three 40+ point games in a single season by a Knick. If you’ve been paying attention this year, Spike has paid homage to Melo’s idol by wearing King’s number 30 jersey. In back-to-back games where Melo scored over 40 points (against the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks), he was wearing the M8 Advance.
Conversely, Melo’s most debilitating knee injury, where he was compelled to have fluid drained, happened as he was wearing the M9′s (Black/White/Bright Citrus) against the Cleveland Cavaliers. We’re not saying that the M9 is a bad omen, because he’s played well in those, too. The Syracuse Team Exclusive of the M9 were clutch for Melo against the Toronto Raptors at The Garden on March 23rd. Overall, Anthony has played his best basketball in the M8 Advance, though. There was the epic win against the Los Angeles Lakers, where he scored 33 in the first quarter. Recently, the climax of Melo’s 2013 performance almost securing him the scoring title was highlighted when he dropped 50 on the Miami Heat, wearing the Game Royal/Team Orange/Black colorway. Oh, Spike was in the audience at the Heat game, sans King jersey though.
If you still think the popularity of the M8 Advance is only fueled by Melo, look at the sidelines at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks ball boys and the trainers all rock the White/Game Royal/Team Orange colorway. The materials are rigid and breathable because they’re built with Hyperfuse and mesh. Design credits go to Justin Taylor, who has been behind Melo’s kicks since the Air Jordan Melo M6 (2010). At that time—when Melo played for Denver—he said they were his best shoe yet. “For me to make a shoe as light as this shoe, and still be as durable as it is, and be able to go out there and perform and have no worries, I think this is the best shoe to have on your feet.” That sentiment about the M6 could relate directly to the M8 Advance. For all the great things that could be said about the M8 Advance in design, much credit goes to the foundation laid by the M8. “We’ve never done an exposed forefoot Zoom [Air] bag in the history of the brand, so it gives Melo something to kind of hang his hat on as the first to do,” said Taylor.
As we compare Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant’s PPG numbers: 28.7 versus 28.1, their sneakers are also very similar. The KD V, like the M8 Advance both have Zoom Air and are made of Hyperfuse technology which is the material that molds to the foot, making it one with the players. The KD V’s designer, Leo Chang told ESPN, “We decided to make it softer and easier to move.” The result makes Durant and Melo more explosive to the hoop when driving or cushioning them when landing. As you look up though, it’s Melo who is on top this year ending Durant’s 3-year scoring title streak. Congrats Melo. Keep advancing.
The Air Jordan Melo M9 just gets better every month – as does every current Jordan product, it seems. Tonight, University of North Carolina will debut the Carolina blue and white colorway of the M9 in their game against Villanova. The heat coming from the initial lineup of colorways worn by Carmelo Anthony for the All-Star game and Black History Month were a taste of some of the wild styles to be released from his signature shoe. Now, NCAA teams are basking in the glory of even better color schemes.
Last month, on February 23rd, Syracuse—Melo’s alma mater—wore the M9′s with the orange upper in his honor, on the day his jersey was retired.
The California Golden Bears got their own Team Exclusives in black, yellow and navy blue. So when Syracuse and California go head to head this Saturday, you already know it will be a sneaker showdown for the books. Which NCAA team has worn the M9 the best? Sound off below.
Carmelo Anthony is under a microscope after his lackluster play against Golden State on Monday night. The Knicks were held to 63 points, with 14 from Melo’s output. How efficient he will be over the course of four more games on the road is up in the air, considering he’s sustained a sore right knee, which had him sidelined for three games. As Melo’s performance is being scrutinized by press in the face of his health, and the state of his team that can succeed in his absence, there’s one thing not at the center of controversy—his sneakers. Melo signed with Jordan Brand in 2003 when he entered the league fresh off an NCAA championship at Syracuse. The white, university blue, and yellow taxi colorways of the Denver Nuggets became a staple of his signature shoes; metallic silver, and black were part of the alternate design.
Being a member of Jordan Brand, Anthony also enjoyed the perks of having a limited run (e.g. Player Exclusive, Future Sole) of Jordans also in Denver colorways. He would wear those on court as much as his own signature shoes. Today, the Jordan Melo series continues with the M9, released this January. In the past couple of years since he’s been in New York, the M8, M8 Advance, and M9 are all you see in Melo’s rotation, not any special Jordan Retro versions in Knicks orange and blue. Is it safe to say Carmelo Anthony’s sneakers as a Knick have eclipsed his Denver era? The Melo collection has shown an evolution in design and popularity. There’s no denying the M6 as one of Melo’s best because they were one of his most light-weight shoes ever. Before that, the M5.5 contained notes of the Jordan 5 and 6: like the 3M tongue and silhouette, but it was all Melo at the end of the day with his emerald birthstone incorporated into the design, along with a TV ad campaign that took him back to his hometown of Baltimore.
The tide is changing for Melo’s sneakers. His most recent shoes are slowly breaking away from being referred to with the Jordan prefix, now becoming an major event that isn’t just another Jumpman23 release. The M9 is pushing the envelope with Flywire materials setting it apart from other Air Jordan releases. That’s an achievement for Melo’s branding. Immortalizing his legacy in the sneaker world can be mentioned in the same breath as his retired jersey. Patrick Ewing has seen this type of fanfare recently with the resurging popularity of his own signature kicks. Before that moment comes for Melo, take a walk down memory lane of his classic material.
AIR JORDAN XII MELO PE (UNWORN) (C. NICEKICKS)