Back in 2014, Paul George suffered one of the worst injuries in NBA history. PG snapped his leg in half while taking part in a Team USA scrimmage in preparation for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
At the time, there were some questions over whether or not PG would ever be able to play basketball again. But somewhat miraculously, he worked his way back out onto the court and reclaimed his place at the top of the NBA world.
At around that time, PG also started to attract the attention of Nike executives. They decided to give him his own signature sneaker, and since then, it has turned into one of the most popular sneakers among NBA players and fans alike.
If you haven’t picked up a pair of PG’s Nike sneakers yet, you should do yourself a favor and buy a pair soon. You should also familiarize yourself with the history of Paul George basketball shoes.
Learn all about the history of PG’s Nike signature sneakers below.
Nike Decides to Name Paul George a Signature Athlete
Nowadays, it might seem as though every single NBA player has their own signature sneaker. But it’s worth noting that, as recently as a decade ago, this was not the case.
In fact, back in the mid-2010s, only three active NBA players were Nike signature athletes with their own signature shoes. They were LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving.
With this in mind, it was no small thing when Nike decided to name Paul George as their fourth active signature athlete. It was also no small thing when Nike announced that he would be just the 21st NBA player to release a signature sneaker through the company.
It’s amazing to look back now and consider that Nike did this despite the fact that PG was still rehabbing from his injury. But they clearly thought that the then-Indiana Pacers star had enough potential to take a chance on him.
Paul George Attempts to Design His First Signature Sneaker
When NBA players first sign deals to get their own signature sneakers, most of them sit back and leave it up to sneaker designers to create sneakers for them. But not Paul George.
Once he signed with Nike, he took it upon himself to sketch out some ideas of what he wanted his first signature sneaker to look like. Nike didn’t run with any of the ideas that he presented to them. But by being proactive about things, PG was able to show Nike what he wanted his first sneaker to look and feel like.
Nike Releases Paul George’s First Signature Sneaker
Although Nike didn’t necessarily love any of the ideas that Paul George floated by them when it came time to design his first sneaker, he did apparently inspire the designers at Nike to go hard when designing his first sneaker. More specifically, designer Tony Hardman worked with PG to come up with a sneaker that many saw as an instant classic.
Nike put out the first Paul George signature sneaker—dubbed the Nike PG1—to much fanfare. NBA players loved the sneaker and started wearing it on the court during games, and fans snatched the sneaker up in droves, too.
It became pretty clear that Nike had a huge hit on its hands with the PG1. It seemed to prove that Nike executives had made the right call in signing Paul Geroge to a signature sneaker deal in the first place.
Nike Puts Out Paul George’s Second Signature Sneaker
After all of the success of the first Paul George signature sneaker, it would have been hard to blame Nike for sticking to the same formula when designing his second one. But in between PG’s first and second signature sneakers, he was traded from the Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder—so Nike decided to switch things up.
The Nike PG2 was a big departure from the PG1. But Nike and PG continued to show that they were a winning combination by once again hitting it out of the park with the PG2.
The one complaint that some people had about the PG2 was that it didn’t feature the same midfoot strap as the PG1. But thankfully, Nike heard this complaint loud and clear and released a PG2.5 that did have the midfoot strap on it.
Nike Plays It Safe With Paul George’s Third Signature Sneaker
While the Nike PG2 was a whole lot different than the Nike PG1, Nike didn’t take the same approach with the PG3. Instead, they seemingly played it safe and put out a Paul George signature sneaker that was a bit of a step back.
There wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with the PG3. It just didn’t appear to take the same risks as the PG1 and PG2 did, so it didn’t get the same kind of reaction as those sneakers.
NBA players kept on wearing the PG3 thanks to its performance on the court. It was an ideal sneaker for playing sports and staying active.
But the PG3 didn’t look quite as clean as the PG1 and PG2 off the court. All the style tips and fashion advice in the world weren’t going to be enough to make it the kind of casual sneaker that the PG1 and PG2 sneakers were.
Nike Goes Back to the Drawing Board for Paul George’s Fourth Signature Sneaker
Following the relatively underwhelming response to the PG3, Nike took a step back prior to releasing the PG4 and rethought their approach to Paul George’s signature sneaker. As a result, the PG4 looked and felt a lot different than PG’s previous Nike sneakers.
The PG4 featured the same low-cut design as his other Nike sneakers. But Nike did away with the midfoot strap altogether and went with a zipper right down the middle instead.
Nike also pulled out all the stops when it came to releasing the PG4 in different colors. You can find these PG basketball shoes in just about any color that you can imagine.
Nike Finds Its Groove With Paul George’s Fifth Signature Sneaker
When it was time for Nike and Paul George to design the PG5 sneaker, they were at a little bit of a crossroads. The first two PG sneakers had been big successes, but it wasn’t clear which direction the PG lineup was headed in.
The world found its answer with the PG5. It showed that Nike was going to keep on taking chances with Paul George’s signature sneaker while also establishing a definitive look for them.
The PG5, once again, was a low-top sneaker. But that didn’t stop Nike from turning it into a technological marvel by incorporating all kinds of features into it.
The PG5 looked fantastic, but it was also designed to be worn by serious basketball players on the court thanks to its cushioning, its multidirectional tread pattern, and the overall flexibility that it provided.
Nike Continues to Push the Envelope With Paul George’s Sixth Signature Sneaker
You can say what you want to say about Paul George’s signature sneakers, but you can’t say that Nike hasn’t taken some risks with them. With the exception of maybe the PG3, every Paul George sneaker has pushed the envelope a little bit further than the last one.
And that trend continued with the PG6, which is Paul George’s latest signature sneaker. Its design was chaotic by nature, and it also included things like Nike’s patented React Foam technology that set it apart from other NBA signature sneakers.
PG and the Los Angeles Clippers—the team he now plays for—may not have had as much success as they would have liked last season. But you can’t blame the most recent PG sneaker for that. It was better than ever before and is now poised to keep on making noise for many seasons to come.
What Will the Next Paul George Signature Sneaker Offer?
“Who is Paul George to get a signature sneaker deal from Nike?” is the question that some people asked when he first signed with the Swoosh. He had his fair share of skeptics at the time.
But they aren’t asking that question anymore. Paul George has proven time and time again that he is capable of carrying his own signature sneaker line. From the PG1 to the PG6, he’s managed to make more noise than most other NBA players with his sneakers.
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