The East All-Stars and their colorful kicks
LOS ANGELES – Like most teens my age in the Philippines, I grew up admiring Michael Jordan and watched His Airness and other NBA stars' exploits on an ancient, low definition 14-inch television set.
My parents being just modest minimum wage earners, the family's priority was health and education, not sports and the equipment it requires. And though we were short in monetary resources, we were long on values and fun.
With sneakers often borrowed from my uncle, I'd merrily play hoops with my peeps. Out there in scorching hot asphalt basketball court, my buddies and I would emulate the moves of His Airiness, plucking mostly nothing but thin air.
Much have changed since those 20 wonderful years.
I'm still a poor boy with big city dreams, keeping my values close to my heart. Chasing the almighty dollar, I'm still working on getting rich, but right now, the only thing I'm gaining is weight. But I do have a wealth of friends and loved ones, and the incalculable joy of writing for NBA.com Philippines.
Covering the 2013 All-Star Weekend in Houston brought back the kid in me, the kid that loves shoes. From up close, I saw the NBA heroes from East and West flaunt the boldest, brightest and priciest footwear ever known to man.
Here's a glance at some of topnotch stars' sneakers.
Paying tribute to NASA's space program, the Miami Heat forward wore the purple and green version of his LeBron X line, which had glitters and specks that represent "the meteors made of the galaxy's hardest substance."
Wearing LeBron's shoe doesn't necessarily make the wearer a triple-double machine, but at a retail price of $200, the LeBron X will surely take a large bite off your pocket.
What shoe can possibly make a 15-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion better? Try the Nike Kobe 8 System. This shoe is built for speed and precision, traits that have made the Black Mamba one of the best to ever play the game.
Priced at $180, Kobe's shoe is $20 less than LeBron's. Not sure if it also comes with fewer assists.
Built for a jumpshooter who gobbles 3s for breakfast, the KD V uniquely features the Nike zoom in the forefoot and Nike Air in the heel for topnotch cushioning, plus a lightweight, durable Hyperfuse upper.
Also known as "Hulk," Kevin Durant's latest offering comes in a wide spectrum of pastel colors and is priced at a relatively low $135. But when KD starts collecting his championship rings, look for his sneakers' prices to rise in value, just like his game.
In blinding black and electric green colors, Chris Paul's CP3. VI was especially made for quick ballers like the L.A. Clippers point guard, who needs sneakers that can "handle high speeds and quick cuts on a daily basis."
Paul himself helped inspire the craftsmanship details of the sixth edition of the CP3 shoe. And priced only at $125, it's definitely fit for an All-Star MVP.
The superstar forward of the New York Knicks has a shoe that comes at you screaming in blue, black and orange colors. And made with synthetic nobuck and leather overlays, the Melo 9 has an adaptive fit lacing overlays while the rubber outside sole provides traction.
With a recent slide, the Knicks might have dropped in the standings, but Anthony's Melo 9 remains high up on the price list at $145.
So there you go, a look at some of the many shoes that launched a thousand All-Star thrills.
Photos by Raja Allarey