words // Brandon Richard
When it comes to brand variety, I can't say enough how pleased I am with how much more of it we saw across the NBA this season. In addition to the familiar faces (Nike, Jordan Brand, adidas), we saw the emergence of new stateside brands (Under Armour Basketball, BALL'N, ATR), international brands (PEAK, Li-Ning, ANTA, Le Coq Sportif) and the return of a couple members of the old guard (Reebok & Converse). That variety was on full display Wednesday night when every team in the league took the court to wrap up the 2010-2011 season.
With majority of the playoff match-ups already decided, some teams opted to rest their stars. However, there were still some games of significance on the schedule. The Chicago Bulls played their starters and notched a win that netted them the league's top record and homecourt advantage throughout the entire playoffs as the result of the San Antonio Spurs loss to the Phoenix Suns.
It was a bittersweet night in Sacramento, where the Kings would likely be playing their last game in front of the Sacramento faithful. Fittingly, they hosted the rival Los Angeles Lakers, who needed a win to lock up the number 2 seed after the Dallas Mavericks beat the New Orleans Hornets earlier in the night. Things seemed to be going well for the Lakers when Lamar Odom scored with 9:44 left in the game to give the Lakers a 91-71 lead, but the Kings wanted to give their hometown fans one last show.
With stifling defense and the hot hand of newly acquired Marcus Thornton, the Kings rolled off a 29-11 fourth quarter. They actually held a 99-96 lead with 9 seconds left to play, but then Kobe Bryant did his Kobe Bryant thing and pretty much ripped the pages out of a storybook ending. In overtime, a re-focused Laker team overwhelmed a sloppy Kings group to pull off a 116-108 win and lock up the 2 seed.
If that was indeed the last we've seen of the Kings in Sacramento, what a way to go out. We'll certainly miss seeing basketball played in ARCO Arena (I don't recognize that Power Balance crap).
Take a look below for a loaded look at the kicks worn in the NBA's season finales.
Amar'e Stoudemire dunks in a Player Exclusive colorway of the Nike Zoom Huarache Trainer.
Brook Lopez shoots over Joakim Noah in the adidas adiPure.
Derrick Rose runs the show in the "Light Onix" adidas adiZero Rose 1.5.
Joakim Noah dunks in the Le Coq Sportif Joakim Pro Model.
Kyle Korvers shoots in his Converse Star Player EVO Player Exclusive.
Carl Landry goes up an under wearing PEAK.
Chris Paul shoots in his Jordan CP3.IV.
Dirk Nowitzki shoots in the Nike Hyperdunk 2010.
Courtney Lee closes out the year in the "Black Cement" Air Jordan Retro 3.
Kevin Martin goes to the hole in the Air Jordan 2010 Team.
Martell Webster drives in the ATR Elevate MW5.
Michael Beasley shoots in the adidas Crazy 8.
Dwight Howard goes left hand in the adidas Superbeast.
Jameer Nelson goes for a layup in the Reebok Zig Slash.
James Posey shoots in an iD colorway of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI.
Quentin Richardson returns from suspension in his Jordan Evolution '85 PE.
Austin Daye shoots in his Nike Zoom Kobe VI iD.
DaJuan Summers defends the paint wearing the "Flu Game" Air Jordan Retro 12.
Evan Turner lays it up in the Li-Ning Brass Monkey.
Jrue Holiday shoots in the adidas Crazy 8.
Rodney Stuckey drives in the adidas Pro Model 2010; Elton Brand Defends in the Converse EB3.
Point guard battle: Russell Westbrook drives in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse, while Brandon Jennings defends in the Under Armour Micro G Black Ice Low.
Kevin Durant does his best George Gervin impersonation in the Nike Zoom KD III.
Nate Robinson returns in the "French Blue" Air Jordan Retro 12.
Al Jefferson shoots over Kosta Koufos in the Nike Shox BB Pro.
DeMar Derozan dunks in a Nike Zoom Kobe VI iD.
James Johnson drives in the "Cool Grey" Air Jordan Retro 11.
Juwan Howard drives in a Jordan Hardcourt Classic 1 Player Exclusive.
Dominic McGuire attempts a layup in the "Space Jam" Air Jordan Retro 11.
Josh Powell drives in an iD colorway of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI.
Kirk Hinrich shoots in Converse Sicks Ox.
Mike Bibby tries to find an opening in the Jordan CP3.IV.
Dorell Wright dunks in PEAK Team Dynamic.
Reggie Williams drives in the "Golden State" Nike Air Go LWP.
Stephen Curry goes up strong in his Nike Zoom Hyperfuse PE.
Blake Griffin finishes off an excellent rookie campaign wearing a Nike Hyperdunk 2011 Player Exclusive.
Eric Bledsoe posts up in the "Entourage" Nike Air Max LeBron 8 V/2.
Greivis Vasquez lays it up in the Under Armour Prototype.
Shane Battier gets into the paint wearing his PEAK Battier V shoe.
Aaron Brooks shoots in his Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Player Exclusive.
Matt Bonner closes out in his New Balance basketball shoes.
Perhaps in his final game as a Phoenix Sun, Nash rocks his standard Nike Zoom Go Low.
Tim Duncan wears the adidas TS Lightswitch; Channing Frye attempts to make a play in his Nike Zoom Kobe VI iD.
Tony Parker defends Frye in his Nike Zoom Brave IV PE.
Kobe Bryant shoots in the "Purple Gradient" colorway of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI.
Marcus Thornton tries to evade the defense of Ron Artest in the Nike Air Max Penny I.
Ron Artest drives in the BALL'N Layup; Donte Greene defends in a silver-based colorway of the Nike Hyperdunk 2010.
images via ESPN