It’s hard to imagine 12 NBA teams passing on Kobe Bryant on draft day, but that’s what happened in 1996. Not only that, the team that actually drafted the Black Mamba, the Charlotte Hornets, traded the future superstar to the Los Angeles Lakers. That history is the inspiration for the Undefeated Nike Kobe 5 Protro “What If” pack.
Update: Our detailed look and review of the Nike Kobe 5 Protro Undefeated What If Pack is now available. Click here for the review.
Let’s be honest, everyone at WearTesters will be highly unlikely to snag these beautiful shoes for a video and review. So let’s all enjoy these high quality images and imagine them on our feet.
The original Nike Zoom Kobe 5 was an awesome shoe. For the 2009-10 season, Nike and Kobe set out to create the lowest and lightest sneaker ever at the time, without giving up support and cushion. And that is kinda’ what they did.
The protro version introduced some performance upgrades: Nike’s Zoom Turbo was added in the forefoot of the shoe and covers the entire forefoot and the traction (which had been the original model’s biggest flaw) was upgraded by filling in the gaps that the OG model had within to offer more tread for greater coverage.
Sneaker fans got an extra little surprise for Mamba week when Nike announced a collaboration package with UNDEFEATED. The notorious apparel brand launched two brand new colorways that explore a question that surrounds all overlooked NBA superstars: “What if?” (just ask Vlade Divac).
Kobe 5 Protro “Dirty Dozen”
The first pair, known as the “Dirty Dozen” colorway uses a darker pallet of 12 different colors one for every team that passed on Kobe on draft night 1996:
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Toronto Raptors
- Vancouver Grizzlies
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Boston Celtics
- Los Angeles Clippers
- New Jersey Nets
- Dallas Mavericks
- Indiana Pacers
- Golden State Warriors
- Cleveland Cavaliers
Kobe 5 Protro “Unlucky 13”
The second pair is predominantly white with teal accents. This pair is inspired by the team that drafted him and then immediately traded him away to the LA Lakers, where he would go on to become a legend: the Charlotte Hornets. This colorway is known as the “Unlucky 13”:
Both pairs share two design features which are the gold accents on the swoosh that represent Kobe’s championship legacy, and the snakeskin pattern in the forefoot, similar to the pattern used on the Kobe 6, of course, referencing Kobe’s alter ego: The Black Mamba.
Undefeated Nike Kobe 5 Protro What If Release Details
Today, August 27th was the official launch date for the UNDEFEATED package that includes both pairs for $390. They dropped via raffle at UNDEFEATED online.
Undefeated x Nike Kobe 5 Protro “What If?”
Release Date: August 27, 2020
Style Code: DB5551-900
Undefeated x Nike Kobe 5 Protro What If DB5551-900