It’s no secret how big a fan of the late Kobe Bryant DeMar DeRozan is. Hailing from the city of Compton (which is less than 15 miles from downtown Los Angeles), DeRozan grew up idolizing the Black Mamba, which led to him patterning so much of his game after the all time great shooting guard. In a piece by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst from December of 2019, DeRozan broke down just how much he idolized Bryant and how he studied his game:
“I’d watched him growing up. I watched Kobe do everything. His shot. His footwork. How he works in the post. Everything growing up was Kobe. I tried to emulate the tough shots he took, his pump fake. There’s nothing you can show me that Kobe has done on a court that I don’t know about or have tried. I practice almost all of them.”
DeRozan has effectively been carrying the torch for Bryant’s signature shoe line with Nike since Kobe himself retired after 20 seasons following the conclusion of the 2016 season. The line, which started in 2005 after Bryant left adidas, has spent the last few years rereleasing some of Bryant’s classic silhouettes with updated tech in their Protro series. To reward DeRozan for his hard work as being effectively the face of the Kobe line, Nike has released a limited DeMar DeRozan Player Exclusive (PE) color-way of the Kobe Protro 5, the sneakers that Bryant wore while capturing his 5th and final NBA title back in 2010. These were a part of numerous Protro 5s in DeRozan’s rotation while the Spurs were inside the NBA Bubble in Orlando.
The DeRozan PE will be the first of several official limited PE releases in the Protro 5 line over the following months. These were retailing for $180 at release, but good luck finding a pair. Kobe’s are a hot commodity among sneaker heads, especially since his tragic passing back in January, and Nike sold out pretty quickly on their site and the prices are already insane on the resale market (anywhere from 300-800 bucks on eBay as of this writing). That, sadly, will prevent them from every becoming more than just a daydream shoe for me, but what daydreams they’ll be!
For a more detailed look, check out the official listing for the Protro Kobe 5 DeMar DeRozan PE here.