5 Top Signature Basketball Shoes: Sneakerheads On A Budget

Signature Basketball Shoes
Photo: Needpix.com

Disclaimer: Up until 8:43 pm on Saturday, November 7, 2020, I had no idea what signature basketball shoes were:

(Don’t flee in terror. I promise this post has value for those who know and love NBA player shoes).

The brass tact’s (facts): I’m a 40-year-old man-child who loves nerdy collectibles.

I’m not planning on cranking out a list of NBA players with the signature shoes I want. That would be insane!

(For those interested – my collections revolve around records, posters, graphic novels, Star Wars toys, retro games, and vintage watches).

Instead, I’m letting my step-son, a blossoming sneakerhead (another term I only recently learned) pick out the best basketball shoes ever:

(Well, the signature basketball shoes around his budget range of $100).

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To see his top picks swipe down. To read about the events of Saturday, November 7, 2020, read on.

But first…

What is a sneakerhead?

A sneakerhead is a sneaker enthusiast. However, these aren’t just people who like sneakers. They are serious collectors who trade, queue for and hunt down sneakers. Building a collection of the best-of-the-best. Sneakerheads have serious knowledge about the subject matter.

Back to my NBA sneaker awakening:

So, it was 8:43 pm on a Saturday night. The door knocked. Which was unusual.

(This is why I remember the time).

It was a parcel.

(Even more unusual so late in the day).

The box was addressed to my step-son, who does not want to be named:


Anyway, like an over-excited child he ran down the stairs and like nosey parents, me and his mom asked in unison: “What’s that?”

Signature Basketball Shoes
Photo: YouTube

He said: “There my Li Ning’s”.

(We just looked confused).

“They’re sneakers… I picked up some Li Ning Way of Wade 2 Announcement’s” he added.

(Me and his mom still looked confused).

He pulled them out of the box (carefully), showed them to us, and then said they were a bargain at $90.

In what must have been the dumbest eureka moment ever, I replied: “Oh, so they’re shoes from an NBA star?”

(Dwayne Wade is actually a retired NBA star – sadly I’m a few years out-of-date when it comes to the hoops).

It was at this point he pulled out his phone and showed me his list:

It contained 22 pairs of sneakers he wanted to collect and the Li Ning’s were the second pair he could cross off.

(He had the look of a man on a mission).

The first pair he picked up was a bright yellow pair of Reebok Answer I that had cost him $130 back in September:

(The signature basketball shoes for the legend Allen Iverson).

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These are the shoes he wants next:

The Best NBA Signature Shoes On A $100 Budget

5. Adidas J Wall 1 – $90 to $100

Photo: Ebay.com

Signature Player: John Wall
Year of Release: 2014
Kicksologists.com Rank: #47 in their Top-50

The next pair of shoes on my step-son’s list are the J Wall 1.

According to sneakerhead information: Adidas gave Wall his own signature shoe after his January 2014 All-Star game.

4. FILA Ninety6 Grant Hill 2 – $75 to $85

Fila Basketball Shoe
Photo: YouTube

Signature Player: Grant Hill
Year of Release: 1996
Kicksologists.com Rank: #39 in their Top-50

According to sneakerheads: This was Grant Hill‘s second signature basketball shoe under the Ninety6 brand.

In my opinion, they have the 80s Back to the Future vibe and as it’s Fila, my step-son rates them highly:

(Anything Converse, Vans, or Fila, he’s all over).

3. Jordan CP3 VII AE – $80 to $120

Jordan Sneakers
Photo: YouTube

Signature Player: Chris Paul
Year of Release: 2013
Kicksologists.com Rank: Unranked. CP3 VII rank #46 in their Top-50

Confused? I was:

Jordan sneakers – but the signature player is Chris Paul…

FACT: Air Jordan is a stand-alone brand. However, it does remain a subsidiary of Nike, Inc.

Sneakerheads info: The AE stands for Artisan Edition. These sneakers are a modified version of Chris Paul‘s CP3 signature basketball shoes.

According to my step-son, these are the most affordable Jordan’s on his list (and the only one’s available for about $100).

2. Nike Air Zoom GP – $100ish

Signature Basketball Shoes
Photo: YouTube

Signature Player: Gary Payton
Year of Release: 1997
Kicksologists.com Rank: #33 in their Top-50

Famous trash talker Gary Payton, who won the NBA Championship with the Miami Heat back in 1996 got these signature shoes the year after.

Sneakerheads info: The Nike Zoom GP features a buckle over lace design that’s unmistakable.

(My step-son has a thing for clean black and white style clearly).

1. Reebok Shaqnosis – $100 to $150

Signature NBA Shoes
Photo: YouTube

Signature Player: Shaquille O’Neal
Year of Release: 1992
Kicksologists.com Rank: #22 in their Top-50

An instantly recognizable basketball star like Shaquille O’Neal needs head-turning signature shoes, and Reebok delivered:

These sneakers grab attention and are available for a little over $100!

(Which surprised me).

Sneakerheads info: These basketball shoes feature Reebok’s Hexalite technology in the forefoot and heel.

(I remember when Hexalite was the big thing from Reebok back in the 90s).

In Conclusion:

The variety of signature basketball shoes is mind-blowing:

And my step-son’s list of 22 sneakers could cost him over ten-thousand dollars in the end as some are priced at about $1,500.

Yet that’s the price of being a collector.

My advice to him (and all future collectors): Start with the easy to get items and build slow. Collect for fun and passion – and never bankrupt yourself in the process.

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