He might not have his own sneaker yet, but the Memphis Grizzlies star didn’t let that hold him back this year. Here’s the Ja Morant shoe story so far, from his own custom Kobes to heat from the Nike vault.
On Feb. 28, 2022, Ja Morant erupted for 52 points in a monster home win over the San Antonio Spurs.
In the second quarter, a poster dunk over 7’1 center Jakob Poetl shattered SportsCenter‘s Top 10 countdown, and it’s still considered the best jam of the season. Minutes later, Ja hit a buzzer-beating alley-oop jumper to end the half.
The uncanny sequence broke Instagram’s algorithm with same gravity seen by a Kardashian controversy — with Ja at the center of it all. Morant made viral history that would make Fivio Foreign jealous.
Questions regarding the future of the Ja Morant shoe are consistently fascinating — and viral besides. Famously, Morant is yet to receive his own signature shoe from Nike, instead rotating a slew of sneakers that speak to the past, present, and future of the brand’s basketball category.
In that highlight-filled, career-high outing against San Antonio, Morant made history in a pair of custom Nike Kobe 6 Protros. While the shoes belong to Bryant in regard to namesake honor, artist Sierato painted a sunset motif on the upper, emblazoned by Ja’s #12 tagging the medial side.
This season, Morant has kept watchers on their toes by breaking out vault favorites from Nike’s signature lines likened to Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kobe Bryant before getting a model made in his own image.
Boardroom tracked all 57 games Morant suited up for the 56-26 Grizzlies this season. Below is the full Ja Morant shoe checklist over the course of the the All-Star point guard’s 2021-22 regular season.
Nike Kyrie 1
Number of Games: 5
Notable Colorways: “Opening Night,” “All-Star,” “Rise,” “Easter,” & “Letterman”
Ja Morant started the 2021-22 NBA season with a flair for the moment.
Hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers for the opener, Ja aptly wore the Nike Kyrie 1 “Opening Night” — a nod to the moment and the opposition. Funny enough, Kyrie is the last point guard to receive a signature shoe from the Swoosh.
Over the course of the year, Ja rotated pairs of the Nike Kyrie 1 that first hit retail during the 2014-15 season. Yet to receive the retro treatment, OG themes such as the “All-Star” and “Easter” makeup got burn from Ja over the course of the schedule’s first quarter.
Nike KD IV
Number of Games: 22
Notable Colorways: “Weatherman,” “Galaxy,” “Easter,” “Year of the Dragon,” “Rogue Green,” “Scoring Title,” & “N7”
Heading into the 2011-12 NBA Season, the Nike KD IV made Kevin Durant one of the premier signature sneaker stars in the entire world.
Better yet, the entire galaxy.
Thanks to an All-Star grail, Nerf collaboration, and a slew of color stories, the strapped style from Durant and designer Leo Chang became one of the most popular models on the market that many still consider the best shoe released from his range.
Ten years later, Ja Morant made it known he was in that camp.
Rocking the decade-old design for 22 games this season, including numerous multiple-game streaks, Ja stood out in the archival Durant signature. Whether the world wants a KD IV Protro or Nike Zoom Ja more is a great debate. In either event, Ja’s All-NBA play in the vintage favorite from Easy Money Sniper makes a serious case for both.
Nike Kyrie Low 4
Number of Games: 4
Notable Colorways: “Keep Sue Fresh,” “Sunrise,” “1 World 1 People,” & Green/Red
Few players possess the juice amongst their peers like Irving. An absolute artist with the ball and defiant as they come, the confidence and skill associated with the Nets point guard gets more attention than most.
Take that court clout, match it with modern materials, and sell it for $110? You have an absolute heater at retail. The Nike Kyrie Low 4 sees one of the strongest diffusion lines ever introduced to the signature sneaker game, releasing revised low top takes drafted off his previous and current namesake models.
Coming in at what’s now considered an almost economy price, the bang for its buck is proven when worn at the highest level. Morant made the Kyrie Low 4 part of his rotation for the first quarter of the 2021-22 season. Irving also played in the pair this season, as did Cam Reddish, Desmond Bane, and others.
Nike Kobe 5
Number of Games: 1*
Notable Colorways: UNDFTD “What If” Multi
Much like PJ Tucker, Morant has taken on the approach of warming up in a shoe yet not necessarily playing in it.
The UNDFTD x Nike Kobe 5 Protro in all its forms has been one of the most worn Black Mamba homages in recent years, releasing in limited numbers in correlation with Bryant’s posthumous induction to the NBA Hall of Fame. When hosting the New York Knicks, Ja got loose wearing this patchwork pair yet switched to his Kobe 6 Protro PEs for the action.
Nike Kobe 6
Number of Games: 25
Notable Colorways: Numerous Protro PEs, numerous Sierato customs & OG “3D”
Since Bryant passed away in January 2020, the Nike Kobe line has become the most coveted collection in all of the NBA.
The best of the best with the brand have been privy to Player Exclusive colorways, limited in availability due to a contractual hold-up with the estate. Because of this, many hoopers paid top dollar on resale sites to secure original makeups made over a decade ago to stay spirited on court.
This year, Morant did all of that — and then some.
Serving as his most played-in style this season, the Nike Kobe 6 benefited from Morant wear in Protro, OG, and custom styles. Electric paint jobs from Sierato took Ja’s energy to another level while PE takes from the Swoosh sported unique palettes that were singular to Ja.
Nike Kyrie 7
Number of Games: 1
Notable Colorways: “1 World 1 People”
As expressed earlier, Irving is the blueprint for the modern signature star.
Bold in style, accessible in price point, the Nike Kyrie series speaks to all ages and audiences regardless of what Kyrie says or where Kyrie plays. This season, Morant wore numerous Nike Kyrie models, including the recently released Nike Kyrie 7 for a portion of one game.
Nike Kobe 11
Number of Games: 1
Notable Colorways: “3D”
The Nike Kobe 11 coincided with the Black Mamba’s last season in 2016 and returned the revered line to a low top cut.
Touted as high-performance yet lightweight, the Eric Avar design dropped in an array of colorways — few as loud as the “3D” take. Sporting polka dot styling with an aesthetic likened to multi-dimensional goggles, Ja wore the vault oddity just once this season.
With the Kobe Bryant estate back at Nike, there’s a chance the 11 could eventually return to retail.
Expect Ja to be keeping tabs.
Nike Kobe 8
Number of Games: 1
Notable Colorways: “Blitz Blue”
As you can tell, Morant isn’t afraid to experiment within his sneaker rotation.
The perks of being a Nike athlete matched with the freedom of not having his own shoe has allowed him to play in anything and everything with a Swoosh. After early seasons of playing in high top takes like the Nike Kobe 9 and Nike Kobe 10, the ultra-low Nike Kobe 8 also has seen endorsement from the Grizzlies point guard.
For a New Year’s Eve matchup against the Spurs, Ja took the court in the “Blitz Blue” Kobe 8 before switching back to his tried and true Kobe 6 Protro PE.
Nike Adapt BB
Number of Games: 1
Notable Colorways: Sierato Custom
The Nike Adapt BB was unveiled in January 2019, midway into Ja Morant’s sophomore season at Murray State University.
Averaging 24.5 points alongside an NCAA-best 10 assists, Morant made his leap to national limelight in Nike Kyrie 4 colorways while the Swoosh rolled out what was meant to be the future of performance basketball. Fast-forward months later to June, and Ja was selected with the No. 2 overall pick the 2019 NBA Draft and became an official Nike athlete.
Still doing things his own way, Ja commissioned customizer Sierato to paint up a Grind City theme on the $350 electronic innovation. Wearing them regularly as Rookie of the Year, Ja brought back this favorite for limited wear once this season — in a regular-season game against the Thunder. In 2022, it’s hard to imagine a better fit for what Nike once touted as the future of footwear.
Nike Air Zoom GT Run
Number of Games: 1*
Notable Colorways: All-Star Game makeup
When considering the future for Morant — namely, a signature sneaker — the shoe he wore the least over the course of his breakout 2021-22 NBA season may be the most telling.
The Nike Air Zoom GT Run — a $175 basketball shoe that debuted in spring 2021 — is part of the brand’s “Greater Than” series. Consisting of the GT Run, GT Cut, and GT Jump, the basketball range has stuck around at retail for two seasons from the Swoosh, but has seen strange sales traction.
For months, the GT Cut has been almost impossible to purchase — fetching resale prices, which is unheard of for a modern performance shoe — while the GT Run and GT Jump have moved mildly.
What’s all this mean? If there’s one day a year Nike decides what Ja wears, it’s the NBA All-Star Game. In a world where the brand’s top athletes rotate Kobes or have their own shoe, the real estate attached to Ja is very valuable when considering moving inline models. Though Ja never wore the GT Run during the regular season, it’s the only non-Kyrie sneaker that was actually for sale through Nike at that time.
While the world wants a Nike Morant signature sneaker now, it takes the brand at least 18 months to make that a reality at retail. Given his explosion this season, the summer — or perhaps even a deep playoff run — will only make the speculation more interesting.
Full Log of Ja Morant Shoes for the 2021-22 NBA Regular Season
- Game 1 vs Cleveland: Nike Kyrie 1 “Opening Night”
- Game 2 vs Clippers: Nike Kyrie Low 4 “1 World 1 People”
- Game 3 vs Lakers: Nike KD IV “Scoring Title”
- Game 4 vs Blazers: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 5 vs Warriors: Nike KD IV “Scoring Title”/Nike Kyrie 7 “1 World 1 People”
- Game 6 vs Heat: Nike KD IV “Galaxy”
- Game 7 vs Nuggets: Nike Kyrie 1 “All-Star”
- Game 8 vs Nuggets: Nike Kyrie 1 “Rise”
- Game 9 vs Wizards: Nike KD IV “Year of the Dragon”
- Game 10 vs Timberwolves: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 11 vs Hornets: Nike Kyrie Low 4 “Sunrise”
- Game 12 vs Suns: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 13 vs Pelicans: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 14 vs Rockets: Nike KD IV “Easter”
- Game 15 vs Clippers: Nike Kyrie 1 “Easter”
- Game 16 vs Timberwolves: Nike KD IV “N7” White
- Game 17 vs Jazz: Nike Kyrie 1 “Letterman”
- Game 18 vs Raptors: Nike Kyrie Low 4 “Keep Sue Fresh”
- Game 19 vs Hawks: Nike Kyrie Low 4 Green/Red
- Game 20 – 31: Inactive
- Game 32 vs Thunder: Nike Adapt BB Custom/Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 33 vs Warriors: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 34 vs Kings: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PEs
- Game 35 vs Suns: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 36 vs Lakers: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE/Nike Kobe 6 OG “3D”
- Game 37 vs Spurs: Nike Kobe 8 “Blitz Blue”/Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 38 vs Nets: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 39 vs Cavaliers: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 40 vs Pistons: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 41: Inactive
- Game 42 vs Lakers: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 43 vs Warriors: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 44 vs Timberwolves: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PEs
- Game 45 vs Mavericks: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 46 vs Bulls: Nike KD IV “N7” White
- Game 47 vs Bucks: Nike KD IV “Rogue Green”
- Game 48 vs Nuggets: Nike KD IV “Year of the Dragon”
- Game 49 vs Mavericks: Nike KD IV “Year of the Dragon”
- Game 50 vs Spurs: Nike KD IV “Rogue Green”
- Game 51 vs Jazz: Nike KD IV “Rogue Green”
- Game 52 vs Wizards: Nike KD IV “Rogue Green”
- Game 53 vs Sixers: Nike KD IV “Rogue Green”
- Game 54 vs Knicks: Nike KD IV “Rogue Green”
- Game 55 vs Magic: Nike KD IV “Easter”
- Game 56 vs Clippers: Nike KD IV “Christmas”
- Game 57 vs Pistons: Nike KD IV “N7” Black
- Game 58 vs Hornets: Nike KD IV “Weatherman”
- Game 59: Inactive
- Game 60 vs Blazers: Nike KD IV “Galaxy”
- NBA All-Star Game: Nike Air Zoom GT Run
- Game 61 vs Timberwolves: Nike KD IV “Easter”
- Game 62 vs Bulls: Nike KD IV “Galaxy”
- Game 63 vs Spurs: Nike Kobe 6 Protro Custom
- Game 64 vs Celtics: Nike Kobe 6 Protro Custom
- Game 65 vs Magic: Nike Kobe 6 Protro Custom
- Game 66 vs Rockets: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 67 vs Pelicans: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 68 vs Knicks: UNDFTD x Nike Kobe 5 Protro/Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 69 vs Thunder: Nike Kobe 6 Protro PE
- Game 70: Inactive
- Game 71 vs Hawks: Nike Kobe 11 “3D”
- Game 72 – 80: Inactive
- Game 81 vs Pelicans: Nike Kobe 6 Protro Custom
- Game 82: Inactive