It’s easy to forget that LeBron James is only 32 years old. While the disappearance (and subsequent reemergence) of his hairline provides some clue, it definitely doesn’t feel like 14 years since James first entered the NBA directly from high school. That means it has been 14 years since James first signed the $90 million endorsement deal with Nike that seemed like an exorbitant sum at the time, and now seems like a bargain given all that the Cleveland Cavaliers star has accomplished. While Nike revealed his latest signature model on Christma day, the LeBron 14, the Swoosh just announced that James’s first shoe, the Air Zoom Generation, is also going to get a retro release.
In a video on Uninterrupted, James previewed the sneakers saying, “It’s retro time.” He reminisced about how he felt as an 18-year-old seeing his name on a pair of sneakers talked about how much it means to have his first signature model get re-released. “Streets asked for it. Sneakerheads asked for it,” James said.
James first wore the red and white colorway of the Air Zoom Generations when he made his home debut for the Cavaliers in 2003, helping them earn the nickname “First Game.” In an Instagram post, James reflected on what his life was like back then. His first son was just a baby and the woman who would become his wife was still in high school.
When I held these shoes for the first time I couldn’t believe I was holding a Nike sneaker with my name on it AND that they’d forever be known as the “LeBron’s.” Bronny was a baby. V was still in high school. Mom and I were barely out of the Springhill projects. We only dreamed of days like that and then they became reality. This shoe changed my life, my family’s life, and we’ve been lucky enough to change the lives of people around us. This shoe is for EVERY SINGLE person with a dream and a passion. No matter what your situation is. From the projects to the palace, this shoe is a symbol that you can do anything. FIRE IS BAAAAAACK #AZG #StriveForGreatness🚀 #JustAKidFromAkron🙏
The retro release features the date of that game “11-5-2003” stitched on the inside of the ankle collar. The sneakers will drop on January 25 for $175 through Nike’s SNKRS app as well as at select retailers.
While he didn’t actually play in them, James was so excited about the new kicks that he wore them to Friday’s night’s game against the Sacramento Kings.