At first glance, nothing immediately stands out about Jared Cunningham.
That's not meant as a criticism. It's just that the Cleveland Cavaliers backup guard is fairly reserved, both in his demeanor and his style of play. Cunningham played his college ball at Oregon State. In the 2012 NBA Draft, he was selected 24th overall by the Cavs, who promptly traded him to the Dallas Mavericks. From there, he bounced around from the D-League to the Hawks, Clippers and Kings before landing back in Cleveland this summer, where he made the team out of training camp.
While the Cavs battle an avalanche of injuries, Cunningham has filled in admirably, subbing in for starters Mo Williams and Matthew Dellavadova and more than holding his own, albeit quietly. It remains to be seen whether he will stay on the team when Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert return, but for now, Cunningham is riding the wave.
The last place you might look, down at Cunningham's feet, is where he really shines. Playing alongside LeBron James, Cunningham has been rocking some of James's oldest and rarest signature sneakers. He might be the only player in the NBA wearing vintage LeBrons—except perhaps for Nick Young of the Los Angeles Lakers.
As a kid, Cunningham once waited in line to purchase James's first signature shoe, the Nike Zoom Generation. Things have now come full circle. Through the pre-season and 18 regular season games to date, Cunningham has played almost exclusively in vintage LeBrons, models that haven't been seen on anyone's feet since the King himself wore them in the years they were released.
Here's a sampling of the LeBrons Cunningham has showcased on the court so far this season:
- Nike Zoom LeBron 20-5-5 "Olympic" and "Hong Kong"
- Nike Zoom LeBron 3 "Remix"
- Nike Zoom LeBron 3 "Black/Gold"
- Nike Zoom LeBron 3 "Area Code"
- Nike LeBron IV "China"
- Nike LeBron VI "Hardwood Classic"
Cunningham told ESPN Cleveland that he's been wearing LeBrons since middle school in California. His favorite shoe to wear on the court is the LeBron 3. He says he has over 1,600 pairs in his LA condo. We can't wait to see what else he has in store as he dives deeper into his extensive collection of vintage LeBrons.
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