If you could draw up a plan for the trajectory of the Nike Kyrie 2 before it even dropped, it would probably go something like this: become the affordable alternative to teammate LeBron James’ signature shoe, gain cult status with hilariously creative commercials, have Uncle Drew rock a black and gold pair in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, and hit the final shot over the unanimous MVP Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors (who held a 3-1 lead). The final act? Talk to Juan at Kicks On Fire after the season about the shoes (twice over) and be featured on the site via a top 10 list highlighting the best colorways of Kyrie 2 before moving on to the Nike Kyrie 3.
Well, that was easy. What?
Anyways, with the Nike Kyrie 2 What The dropping today (and promptly selling out) and the Doernbecher edition launching this weekend, it’s time to bid our farewell to Kyrie’s second signature shoe with a look back at our picks for the Top 10 Nike Kyrie 2 colorways.
10Nike Kyrie 2 Kyrache
Who knew that a name like Kyrie would be ripe for puns? We kick off the list with one of our favorite sneaker nicknames this year that also doubles as a tribute to one of the most influential Nike shoes of all time. From trainers to basketball shoes, the Huarache left an indelible mark on the “culture” and with such a unique look that was ahead of its time in the ’90s and perfect for today’s sneakerhead, it gets the retro treatment time and time again. The Kyrache is an homage to the original Air Flight Huarache that the Michigan Fab Five made famous and the details, from the colors to the implementation of the Kyrie logo on the Huarache stamp, shows you the level of reverence the swoosh has for the classics.
9Nike Kyrie 2 Battle Grey
What better way to start a title defense than to be draped in gold? Nike’s Battle Grey Pack was the precursor for the season ahead and Kyrie and LeBron’s Soldier 10 got the championship treatment with gold accents. I can’t be the only one who sees how well certain shades of grey go so well with gold and think it has something to do with how dope the Nike Kobe Prelude Pack – in particular the Zoom Kobe 2 – turned out, right?
8Nike Kyrie 2 Black History Month
We’ve seen a bit of diminishing returns when it comes to some of Nike’s themed releases, such as Easter and Christmas, as the designs have become hit or miss. Their annual Black History Month slate has also fallen into this trap as of late, but the Kyrie 2 BHM has bucked that trend thanks to the colorful use of the shoe’s strap and sole. These were easily the highlight of Nike Basketball’s BHM offering from this year.
7Nike Kyrie 2 Parade
Timing is everything and there’s a chance this general release would not have been as popular as it was if Kyrie had not worn them during the Cavaliers’ championship parade. But who cares? He did wear them and the profile of this colorway increased exponentially. But beyond that, the Parade (or Birds of Paradise as it was originally designated) colorway is really just a clean colorway with the white and black split that’s broken up (in a good way) by the colorful strap and volt accents.
6Nike Kyrie 2 What The
For as much grief as I give the “What The” theme, Nike never ceases to make me go “WTF?!” when I see what they have next. The Kyrie 2 What The definitely falls in that category because instead of looking like an explosion at a crayon factory, Nike went for subtlety and changed up the patterns found on the heel and strap that recalls Kyrie’s championship run and the various Kyrie 2 releases. It’s the “What The” release that actually has to make you think instead of banging you over the head with its color choices. I can appreciate that on an intellectual level and judging by how fast it sold out online, it looks the people took it the same way too.
5Nike Kyrie 2 Four Wins Pack – Game 5
We didn’t get to see the gradient midsole a whole hell of a lot on the retail Kyrie 2s, so it was a nice surprise to find out that this PE that Kyrie wore during Game 5 of the NBA Finals would be releasing alongside LeBron’s Soldier 10s as part of Nike Championship Pack…
On a side note, props to Nike for releasing not one, not two, not three, but four different championship packs a few months ago. Why bother designing a championship sneaker for two of your signature guys when you get just fast track retail versions of their PEs, slap them on a fancy box, sell them out in seconds and call it a day? That’s why they stay winning, folks…
4Nike Kyrie 2 Effect
If there’s one nitpick we can lay on the Kyrie 2, it’s that the early Effect colorway was such a table setter that it was slightly disappointing that Nike never went back to that level of crazy on their later releases. It makes the Effect colorway stand out even more from the pack, but we kind of wanted to see what else Nike could have done given that level of freedom.
3Nike Kyrie 2 Doernbecher
The Kyrie 2 Doernbecher is not dropping until this weekend, but it has already made such an impact on our lives because of the story behind the shoe. Designed by Andy Grass, a child who battled two collapsed lungs due to an accident, this is what resilience, courage, and love looks like.
2Nike Kyrie 2 Four Wins Pack – Game 7
For as much confidence and faith we have in Kyrie’s ability to take over a game, never did we imagine that he would be the one that would hit the shot that would eventually turn into the game-winner in a Game 7. Not when LeBron James has played in more Finals games that some of us can count, not when Kevin Love is arguably a better shooter, not when J.R. Smith is well, J.R. Smith. But there was Uncle Drew, teaching the youngblood Steph Curry a thing or two about getting buckets. The shoes he wore? Those black and gold joints that take up the #2 spot on our list.
1Nike Kyrie 2 Ky-Rispy Kreme
“It was literally just (as simple as that). Let’s take my name and apply it to the shoes and connecting it to things that I love and it was like, Krispy Kreme…” – Kyrie Irving, Krispy Kreme fan
Nom. Nom. Nom.
And yes, I will be forever bitter that I don’t own a pair that comes with the sweet, sweet box. Size 11.5, Nike (or somebody that’s willing to trade down the line).