words & images_Nick DePaula

Tonight is the night. The night Kobe Bryant has been waiting to avenge for exactly two years. He's prepared as ever for the big stage that awaits him, as he and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers will host the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Finals. As expected, he'll be taking the court in a pair of custom crafted and designed Zoom Kobe Vs, specially made just for the big stage.

"Much like last year, we decided to focus on Kobe's achievements and stats from the regular season that got him to the playoffs," explains Nike Basketball Graphic Designer Erick Goto, the man behind the details and touches found throughout the shoe. "This year, however, I decided to take a more evocative approach to stylizing the stats and facts. I was inspired by hand-drawn illustrations and old school tattoo lettering." You'll see a collection of numbers, details and statistics adorning the upper in tonal fashion, with the shoe's main color coming simply from the hits of gold found along the Swoosh, tongue logo, heel counter and collar. "Each stat pops in and out of the composition, blending in with a black mamba that works it's way from heel to vamp, lateral to medial," continues Goto. "The flow of the illustration is a bit like a tattoo, something that shows history and tells a story about oneself." Enjoy an extensive look at the "Big Stage" Zoom Kobe V, in Kobe's size 14, as well as a detail sheet created by Nike Basketball Graphic Designer Erick Goto breaking down each statistic found on the shoe. Obviously you're deeply curious about launch plans, and you can expect these to release later this summer. Straight from Nike Basketball Graphic Designer Erick Goto himself, a detailed look at the story found along the upper.