The summer of 1996 was a big one for the Lakers. Not only did they manage to convince Shaquille O’Neal to leave Orlando and head for Hollywood, but they also landed the kid who turned out to be possibly the greatest Laker of all-time: Kobe Bryant.
Things could’ve gone so very differently if the Charlotte Hornets decided to take the high-scoring high schooler for themselves, though.
Nike had decided to explore the possibility of this scenario, and have released the Kobe 11s in a Hornets colorway.
On paper that might sound like a disaster to Laker fans, though the kicks actually look pretty cool.
They feature the date that Bryant was drafted on the back of the shoe, along with the now familiar “sutures” that represent the five-time NBA champion’s repaired Achilles’ tendon.
The Lakers targeted Bryant at the 13th pick and agreed to a deal that sent Vlade Divac to Charlotte in exchange for the 17-year-old kid who would go onto become the league’s third all-time leading scorer.
If you’d like a pair of these slick kicks, they’re out now but will set you back $160.