The NBA might have returned, but the crowd has not. And while we're thankful for the fact there's no risk of Drake repeating his courtside antics of seasons past, we're certainly missing celebrity-spotting in general. In particular, though, it's the courtside-sneaker-spotting shaped hole that has us feeling most empty.
To help fill that hole, we're throwing things back with some of the very best sneaker displays of recent NBA years, from Jay-Z enjoying some family time in his Jordan 11s to courtside-regular Lil Wayne sporting some loud 4s.
As you probably guessed from the above, as we're talking basketball fans, it's inevitable that a Jordan sneaker (or six) ends up on the list. Scroll on to check out the courtside sneaker moments and shop them at GOAT. You can also shop a wide range of sneakers and apparel via the app.
The best NBA courtside sneaker moments of recent years.
Drake — Air Jordan 4 NRG "Raptors Drake Signature"
Last year, the Toronto Raptors claimed its first NBA championship crown in the franchise's history. And whether or not that victory was helped or hindered by Drake's courtside motivation remains up for debate. The Canadian artist was caught in a rare seated moment here during the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, wearing his very own Air Jordan 4 NRG "Raptors Drake Signature". The sneaker arrived without warning via the SNKRS app in June 2019, dressed in Raptors' colors and stamped with Drake's signature.
Spike Lee — Air Jordan 1 "Knicks"
Da 5 Bloods and Clockers director Spike Lee has a penchant for loud glasses and vividly-colored accessories, and both were on display at a game between the Brooklyn Nets v New York Knicks before the Covid-19 pause. Lee went all out fanboy, pairing his orange glasses and Knicks cap with a pair of Air Jordan 1 "Knicks" — a limited-edition colorway inspired by the team and its jersey colors, which dropped in 2013.
Odell Beckham Jr. — Air Jordan 1 "Shattered Backboard"
Cleveland Browns football star Odell Beckham Jr. has been known to sport a wild hairstyle or two throughout his career. Hiding it under a Carhartt cap this time, Odell pays tribute to basketball legend with the Air Jordan 1 "Shattered Backboard" — a shoe released in 2015. The colorway commemorates a moment in 1985 that saw Michael Jordan dunk so hard he broke the glass in the backboard.
Lil Wayne — Air Jordan 4 "Toro Bravo"
A bonafide courtside regular, there were many Lil Wayne moments to choose from. We went all the way back to 2013 with this one, when Mr. Carter sported the Air Jordan 4 "Toro Bravo" alongside some camo. The colorway, which features a vivid fire red nubuck upper and cement grey details, dropped in 2013.
Jay Z — Air Jordan 11 "Concord"
Courtside celeb-spotting doesn't come much bigger than this. Michael B. Jordan, Jay Z, Blue Ivy Carter, and Beyoncé turning out for the 66th NBA All-Star Game in 2017. Jay Z wears the retro Air Jordan 11 "Concord" from 2014, a colorway that was first seen on the feet of Michael Jordan during an NBA Championship winners parade in 1996.
P Diddy — Nike Air Force 1 "07 White"
Well, that's embarrassing. Ashton Kutcher and P Diddy sat next to each other at the 2004 NBA All-Star Game in the same sneaker. However, there are far worse faux pas to make, with the pair both wearing the iconic Nike Air Force 1. We've included a modern update of the AF1, which was released in 2007 to celebrate the shoe's 25th anniversary.
Quavo Huncho — Union LA x Air Jordan 1 NRG "Storm Blue"
Quavo and fellow Migos member Offset were spotted at a Lakers' game against the Atlanta Hawks last year, with Quavo going for a fit that is hard to ignore. On his feet were the highly-coveted Union LA x Air Jordan 1 NRG "Storm Blue" — a similarly yellow-soled predecessor to the recent Union AJ4 drop.
Our designated Selects section features products that we love and want to share with you. Highsnobiety has affiliate marketing partnerships, which means we may receive a commission from your purchase.