Ranking The Best Championship-Inspired Sneakers


On the cusp of the Air Jordan 7 “Champagne & Cigar” pack release, we rank all the best championship-inspired sneaker releases that have previously dropped over the years.

From celebrating NBA titles to Olympic gold medals and even a Super Bowl victory, which of these more than 20 pairs would you most like to have in your personal collection?

24: Air Jordan VI "Champagne"

Release Year: 2014

Look, we get it. Some people love these kicks. And if you were after them for the look, rather than the hype, good for you. But we simply weren’t feeling them. Especially considering the amount of heat on the rest of this list.

23: Nike Air Force 1 Low "Gold Medal" (Team USA)

Release Year: 2012

Done up to celebrate Team USA winning the gold medal count (and overall medal count) at the 2012 London Summer Olympic games, these gold, speckled AF1 Lows are awesome. Makes you feel all patriotic doesn’t it?

22: Air Jordan VI "Cigar"

Release Year: 2014

The better of the inaugural Jordan “Champagne & Cigar” pack, these “Cigar” VIs took a bit for us to warm up to, but now they could definitely get a bit of play in our rotation.

21: Nike LeBron 11 Elite SE "Champ Pack"

Release Year: 2014

While we did generally like the LeBron 11, the Elite version hit us with that flashiness, and to be honest, it was a bit much. Also a bit much? The near $300 price tag for these “Champ Pack” joints. We like ’em. We just don’t like ’em at $300.

20: Nike LeBron X "Gold Medal"

Release Year: 2012

What initially looked to be just another run-of-the-mill LeBron X colorway, slowly became one of our favorites, over time. Upon first look, there isn’t much to this “Gold Medal” makeup that celebrated the King’s 2012 gold medal triumph. But after having some time to reflect on it, we love the casual gold hits on this X. When you think of a lot of celebration releases, gold is an understandably overused color. But these Xs pull it off nicely.

19: Nike Zoom Kobe 4 "4 Rings"

Release Year: 2009

Now it’s not often you actually get a chance to purchase the PE that Nike makes for it’s championship-winning athletes. Of course, sometimes you get the Celebration Packs, or anniversary releases. But these “4 Rings” Kobe 4s were done up for Mamba himself, when the Lakers received their 2009 NBA Championship rings. Dope.

18: Air Jordan VI "Golden Moments"

Release Year: 2012

What better way to celebrate winning NBA gold than a neck-breaking pair of Air Jordan VIs? While it wasn’t the star of the pack, these “Golden Moments” VIs, the model MJ wore while winning his first chip, were awesome.

17: Nike LeBron 11 Low SE "Champ Pack"

Release Year: 2014

Earlier we mentioned the LeBron 11 “Champ Pack,” but one might remember that LeBron didn’t actually win a championship in the 2013-14 season. While that honor went to Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs, Nike had preemptively queued up celebratory kicks for the King, in the event of a Miami Heat win. But, since that never happened, the Swoosh boys had to shift and drop the colorways with a different moniker. So, no matter who you were pulling for, the good news was that sneakerheads did eventually get a crack at these excellent 11 Lows.

16: Nike LeBron X Low "Celebration Pack"

Release Year: 2013

The X was another LeBron low that took some time to make it’s impact felt. But this “Celebration” colorway, commemorating the King’s second ring were excellent from the moment we laid eyes on them. Unfortunately, those limited numbers meant that eyes were the only thing we’d be laying on them.

15: Air Jordan VII "Golden Moments"

Release Year: 2012

When an Air Jordan gets done up in gold, it’s always worth your attention, and these “Golden Moments” VIIs are no exception. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of MJ’s 1992 gold in Barcelona with the original Dream Team, Jordan Brand gave us an updated take on the model he was wearing during those games.

14: Nike Kobe 4 "Prelude"

Release Year: 2013

When the Nike Kobe Prelude pack dropped, a lot of feelings were hurt. Also hurt: our disposable income. And one of our favorite drops from that pack was the Zoom Kobe 4, commemorating the sneaker Mamba was wearing when he won his fourth chip and the first under contract with Nike back in 2009.

13: Nike LeBron X Elite "Celebration Pack"

Release Year: 2013

There were more colorways of the Nike LeBron X than we can even remember. But one we won’t soon be forgetting was part of the “Celebration Pack” from LBJ’s second coronation. This red/gold LeBron X drop was so dope. So dope and unfortunately, so so limited.

12: Li-Ning Way of Wade 2 "Dynasty Pack"

Release Year: 2012

Sitting just outside the top 10 is the excellent Way of Wade 2 “Dynasty Pack” release. This double dip of white/black and gold was an uber-exclusive release that saw just 40 packs dropped in celebration of the 2012 Miami Heat championship. It’s a shame this release was so limited because it is colorways like this that could give the Li-Ning Way of Wade series a bit more hype amongst the masses.

11: Air Jordan VII "Gold Medal" Chris Paul PE

Release Year: 2012

Even if your team isn’t winning the ultimate NBA prize, if you’re part of Team Jordan, you know you’ve still got the plug. So while CP3 might still be searching for that elusive Champ Pack of his own signature line, these will hold him over nicely. Done up to celebrate CP3 and company’s Olympic gold in 2012, this updated “Olympic” Jordan VII has us praying for a retail drop.

10: Nike LeBron 9 Elite "Championship"

Release Year: 2012

One of our favorite LeBron colorways of all time honored James’ first NBA championship. Something so hyped deserved a sneaker worthy of the occasion, and Nike did not disappoint. Wrapped up with the King’s “MVP” colorway as well, these amazing LeBron 9s dive back into that familiar red/black-gold colorway that just works so damn well. Beautiful shoe.

9: Nike Kobe 7 "Prelude"

Release Year: 2014

The Kobe Prelude series gave us our favorite colorways for many of Mamba’s best silos, and the Prelude Kobe 7 is no exception. Using the same silo #24 used to win Olympic gold, Nike did some of their best work yet. The shoe is simple, yet extremely detailed. These are pure flames.

8: Air Jordan VI "Gold Trophy" Kawhi Leonard PE

Release Year: 2014

Kawhi Leonard surprises a lot of people with both his play and attitude on the court. But he’s also been flexing his shoe game since way back. Commemorating his first NBA Championship, as well as being selected Finals MVP, Jordan Brand hit Leonard with this amazing PE for ring night. These “Gold Trophy” Air Jordan VIs are fantastic. But the thing we really like about them is Kawhi’s own “Claw” logo on the heels. Let’s hope we get a chance to pick up some Kawhi gear in the future.

7: Air Jordan VI "Chrome" Earl Thomas PE

Release Year: 2014

You’ve got to give it to them; when Jordan Brand does championship celebrations, they do it right. Case in point, blessing Seahawks DB Earl Thomas with these chromed-out VIs after winning Super Bowl XLVIII. Just look what happened when Nike dropped those Chromeposite Foams. Can you imagine what these would do at retail?!

6: Nike Kobe 5 "Prelude"

Release Year: 2013

Celebrating the shoe Kobe wore while winning his most recent chip, the Kobe V “Prelude” was our personal favorite from the pack. Using pop art styling, Nike gave us a true neck-breaker with these babies.

5: Nike LeBron X "Cork"

Release Year: 2013

Nike, you crazy for this one! Who would have thought that Nike would/could produce a sneaker with an upper made of a material like cork? When you really think about it, that’s just awesome. One of the most hyped LeBron releases ever, the “Corks” celebrated King James’ second NBA title in as many years. And even though you might not be able to ball too well in them, you’ll still ball extremely well in them, you know?

4: Air Jordan XI "Ring Night" Ray Allen PE

Release Year: 2008

We’ve already declared Ray Allen the PE champ long ago, so it’s almost unfair that he keeps getting these ridiculous celebratory releases too! Just look above, soak it in and remember his awesome “Ring Night” Air Jordan XI PEs in celebration of winning the 2008 NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics. Ray Allen: Professional Feelings Hurter.

3: Air Jordan XI "Defining Moments"

Release Year: 2006

Taking one of the most beloved basketball sneakers of all time, the Air Jordan XI “Concord”, and hitting it with a gold Jumpman, seems like such a minute change. And it is! But oh, it just works so well. Released back in 2006 as part of the greatest sneaker pack of all time, the “Defining Moments” pack, Jordan Brand used the silo MJ wore while winning his fourth NBA ring. These XIs are just perfect.

2: Air Jordan XI "Two Rings" Ray Allen PE

Release Year: 2013

Yep, another Air Jordan XI. And yes, another Ray Allen PE. After winning his second NBA championship with Miami, Ray Allen was blessed with one of our favorite player exclusives of all time, the “Two Rings” Air Jordan XI. So. Many. Flame. Emojis. Now if we could just get JB to actually release these!

1: Air Jordan VI "Defining Moments"

Release Year: 2006

And finally, topping our list of greatest championship-inspired sneakers of all time: the Air Jordan VI “Defining Moments” pack release. Just like the Air Jordan XI included in the same drop, these VIs don’t change much when compared to the OG black/infrared version. But when you’re dealing with something as iconic as the Air Jordan VI, you don’t need much. We’ll go ahead and just say it again for you: Greatest Pack Of All Time.


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  • TheTruth

    How could you guys put the preludes but not the actual shoes that Kobe wore in the Finals? The big stage Kobe Vs were way better than the prelude Vs.

  • dizzle1119

    The Li-Nings listed at #12 are Not 2’s. They’re W.O.W. 1.0’s.

  • dizzle1119

    A good portion of the shoes on this list aren’t even Championship sneakers. The Kobe Prelude pack was not released in conjuncture with any Lakers title win. It was a quick retro cash grab leading into the release of the Kobe 9 Elite.

    Do better, guys. Seriously. This stuff ain’t rocket science…

    • dizzle1119

      6 shoes from this list of “Greatest Championship Inspired Sneakers” aren’t championship releases at all. One could make an argument that the LBJ X Cork is…but not really. …and even if we do accept the LBJ X Cork as a championship release, that leaves both LBJ XI SE’s & every Prelude Pack Kobe shoe contained in this write up as being out of place.

      I’m normally not the type to split hairs, but this is bad stuff…


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