The Best Sneakers of Game 1
After relying on hand-painted custom pairs of Adidas throughout his first two seasons to convey his "Spida" nickname and love for the Spider-Man comic series, Donovan Mitchell debuted his new signature shoe Sunday for the NBA playoffs, wrapping up a weekend of new, exciting looks for some of the NBA's biggest names.
Dubbed the D.O.N. Issue #1, Mitchell's first Adidas sneakers fittingly were an official collaboration with Marvel Comics, in none other than a Spider-Man themed red and blue colorway.
"This was so unexpected for me," Mitchell said. "You know, it's only my second year in the NBA, to now have a shoe ... I want to help inspire kids so they feel like they can do anything."
Mitchell becomes only the 18th NBA player to have his own signature shoe this season, a late add to the list of the game's biggest stars in advance of the shoe's expected launch in July.
As one of Adidas' current headliners, Mitchell's debut model is highlighted in the brand's new "Heroes Among Us" Pack, featuring sneakers inspired by characters from Marvel's upcoming "Avengers: Endgame" movie. Also in the pack are superhero-inspired shoes for WNBA star Candace Parker, as well as Damian Lillard and James Harden.
While Lillard wore his Black Panther-themed Dame 5 during a pre-playoff practice, Harden debuted his Iron Man edition of the Harden Vol. 3 opposite Mitchell in the opening game of their first-round series.
Harden's pair incorporated the Iron Man mask along the tongue, as well as the "Stark Industries" logo along the heel. For Mitchell, his signature model features a web-inspired series of bands for support, as well as his tandem spider web and basketball net-inspired tongue logo.
While the Adidas and Marvel capsule collection turned heads all week, a surprise pair from Chris Paul captured the excitement around Tiger Woods' triumphant win at The Masters.
Paul's new CP3.12 for Sunday took inspiration from Woods' signature red and black outfits for the final round of the tournament, with faux tiger fur around the heel and a tiger-striped outsole pod to play up the connection. The two have golfed together in years past, with CP3 and Woods paired during a pro-am tournament near Paul's hometown of Winston-Salem in North Carolina.
While Paul is one of the Jordan Brand's longest-tenured athletes and ambassadors, his sneakers showed love to Tiger's longtime Nike deal, with a white Swoosh in place of his usual Jumpman logo along the toe.
Another tribute spotted on the court came via Kevin Durant's size 18 sneakers, which featured loose inspiration from some of his favorite 1990s sports movies. In tandem with basketball culture luxury designer Don C, Durant looked to layer in details and graphics from "Above The Rim," a cult classic hoops film set in Harlem. Along the heel of each shoe, "KD" and "35" could be seen in a font inspired by the movie cover text.
Over the years, several players have worn mashed-up colorways toward the end of the season, featuring a variety of panels and materials combining each shoe they've worn throughout the year. The purposefully random executions were dubbed the "What The" theme, most notably worn by Nike's signature athletes Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Durant.
Naturally, Russell Westbrook would have his own take on the concept. Debuting yet another new version of his Jordan WhyNot Zer0.2 signature model, each shoe features a split upper, with a variety of textures, animal prints, patterns and graphics coming to life on the outside half, opposite a stark white inner half. The mismatched halves gave a confusing read from a side view, with Westbrook once again standing out on the floor with his sneakers.
As the Clippers began their postseason on the road, Montrezl Harrell wanted to bring a piece of Los Angeles with him. His detailed and in-depth custom Air Jordan Retro 10 featured portraits of late rapper Nipsey Hussle, along with a nod to his Crenshaw hometown and several of the musician and community activist's favorite phrases of encouragement and slogans.
"We are still walking with you here on earth Nip forever," Harrell captioned on Instagram, before scoring 26 points in 29 minutes.
With more debuts and unveils in store throughout the playoffs, be sure to follow SneakerCenter on Facebook for game-by-game updates. As some of the game's biggest stars were spotted in new themes and colorways during the opening game of the playoffs, be sure to vote on your favorite pair in our poll below.