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Athletes That Shook Up the Sneakersphere in 2022


Athletes continued to shake up the sneakersphere in 2022. From Kyrie Irving’s much-publicised split with Nike to Serena Williams walking for Off-White in Paris, the heavy hitters and superlative scorers have once again transcended the hardwood, Wimbledon green, and various other playing surfaces.

Lace ’em tight – these are the athletes that shook our foundations in 2022.

Kyrie Irving

This year, few athletes shook the sneakersphere like Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving. The point guard has a knack for generating head-scratching headlines, and 2022 was absolutely no exception. Sharing the controversial, anti-semitic documentary Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America to his social media in November, Kyrie was promptly suspended by both the Brooklyn Nets and Nike, with Nike halting the release of the Kyrie 8. One of the most anticipated signature shoes this year, Nike later formalised their split with Kyrie, announcing their official breakup after an eight-year partnership.

Serena Williams

There’ll be a giant Serena-shaped hole in professional tennis moving forward. Revered for her breathtaking game, Serena also made a name for herself as one of the preeminent fashion icons on tour, the 23-time Grand Slam champion stunting everything from Off-White to Black Panther-esque body suits. In March, she even walked for Virgil’s emotional Off-White show in Paris, the Fall 2022 collection titled ‘Spaceship Earth: An Imaginary Experience’.

LeBron James

King James has been shaking up the sneakersphere for two decades. This year, his collaboration with Ghanaian fashion designer Mimi Plange was undoubtedly a highlight for sneakerheads, with the quartet of colourways revolving around the concept of pre-colonial African cultures. GOAT.

Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum’s Air Jordan 36 PEs were a thing of beauty during the 2021-22 NBA season. His link-up with Melody Ehsani for Game 2 of the NBA Finals was certainly a highlight for Tatum, the snakeskin rendition complete with custom tongue labels, highly detailed lace dubraes and a hamsa graphic in the middle of the throat.

‘The hamsa (or hand of God) on the sole is a symbol for protection from anything that doesn’t serve your purpose,’ Ehsani reflected on her Instagram.

Look for Tatum to lace some killer Air Jordan 37s during the 2022-23 NBA season.

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball’s Rick and Morty x PUMA MB.01 was one of this year’s most creative signature sneaker colourways. Loaded with ‘interdimensional style’, the retina-burning mix of red and green paid homage to Justin Roiland’s animated sci-fi hit, with the Big Cat providing one of the great pop culture x sneaker combinations this year.

Get schwifty!

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq Daddy’s Reebok sneakers have enjoyed a startling resurgence of late. Models like the Shaqnosis perhaps hit their apotheosis in November this year when art collective Brain Dead collaborated on the mesmerising model. Shaq even toured Down Under this year, speaking about his indomitable legacy and expansive partnership with Reebok. Make sure to check out our interview with Shaq Diesel right here.

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