Paolo Banchero was the first overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. The do-it-all forward, who played his college ball at Duke, was selected by the Orlando Magic, who see Banchero as a player that can single-handedly turn the franchise around. A player of this caliber, naturally, has basketball fans buzzing. Sneakerheads are also excited to see what Paolo Banchero shoes will be when he hits the NBA hardwood in late 2022.
At WearTesters, we usually reserve sneaker history articles for players with long storied careers in the sneakerverse. This time, we are taking a close look at a player who hasn’t played a single second (at the time of publishing) in the NBA and hasn’t even had a PE (player edition) to his name. But the fact of the matter is that Banchero has so much potential that we decided to document his sneaker trajectory from the very beginning.
So with all that being said, let’s jump in and go over all of the Paolo Banchero shoes to date.
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Paolo Banchero Shoes: Orlando Magic
Paolo Banchero Shoes 2022-23
Before we jump into Banchero’s, all be it, short time with the Orlando Magic, we have to talk about some PRO-AM action.
Banchero recently made headlines after a PRO-AM game at the Zeke End tournament. The tournament featured a group of talented players from the state of Washington. Unfortunately for Banchero, this included Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray. Check out the video below to see why I say “unfortunately”. During the game, Banchero was rocking a pair of Nike KD 14s while Murray was in a purple and gold colorway of the seriously excellent New Balance TWO WXY V2.
Despite this seeming beef with Murray, Banchero is only the 4th player in Orlando Magic history to be taken first overall in the draft. The other Magic top picks were Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber (who was then traded for Penny Hardaway), and Dwight Howard, which is lofty company. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Banchero didn’t even work out with the Magic before the draft, nor was he projected to go first overall. The Magic must have seen something special in Banchero to bet so much of the franchise’s future on the Duke freshman.
Jordan Brand also must have seen something special in the youngster. The Jumpman reportedly signed Banchero to a deal at the end of July, after an impressive showing in the NBA summer league. Banchero will join an already stacked Jordan Brand roster that includes Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Zion Williamson, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and Bam Adebayo among others.
We started to see Banchero play in Jordan’s during the summer league and in media sessions. His go-to was the Jordan 36 Low, but he also pulled out a pair of adidas Exhibit A, and a pair of the Nike PG 5. He’s also rocked a couple of pairs of wild kicks off the court, which makes me feel that if he ever gets his own signature shoe it will probably be out there in terms of design.
It will be fun to see what shoes Banchero wears with Jordan Brand. With Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, and Zion all getting their own signature shoes, Jordan Brand doesn’t seem to have a signature athlete to showcase the Air Jordan 37 next season. Perhaps, Banchero will be one of the chosen athletes to do so.
Paolo Banchero Shoes: Duke
Paolo Banchero Shoes 2021-22
Banchero played only one season with the Blue Devils, but that was more than enough time to display his full array of talents on the court and to break out a wide array of Blue Devil colorway Nikes.
At Duke, Banchero displayed a fluid and versatile style of play that, combined with his massive 6’10” 250 lbs frame proved to be quite difficult to stop on the court. Banchero averaged 17 PPG, 8 RPG, and 3 APG, and was named a consensus second-team All-American, becoming the 33rd player in the program’s history to earn consensus All-America status. He was also named the ACC Freshman of the Year. Duke made it all the way to the Final Four but wasn’t able to bring home the title.
During his time at Duke, Banchero wore several different Nike models. He seemed to prefer more guard-oriented shoes, like so many versatile big men these days. Banchero mostly played in the Nike Kyrie 7 but also rocked models like the Nike Freak 3, the Nike KD 12, the Nike KD 13, and the Nike Kyrie 4 Low. All models that prioritize reactiveness and traction over cushioning and support.
Paolo Banchero Shoes: High School
In high school, Banchero displayed the same taste in sneakers as in college: responsive and grippy guard-style shoes. Like most youngsters, he was limited to the sponsoring brand of whatever team he was on, but he would always tend towards these types of shoes.
Banchero was named the Gatorade player of the year in 2020, he was picked for the First Team All-State selection in Washington, as well as being named the Seattle Times Player of the Year and the Metro League MVP. Banchero would finish the season ranked as the nation’s No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2021 by Rivals.com.
He averaged 22.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game that season and showed flashes of what was going to come. During his high school days, we saw Banchero play in the Nike Kyrie 4, Nike KD 12, and in several Under Armour models.
It’s clear that Banchero prefers shoes that enhance his explosiveness and offer the most coverage on more extreme movements. If I had to bet, I would think that Banchero likes feeling like a guard on the court despite his hulking frame. It will be interesting to see what Jordan models he reaches for during the 2022-23 season.