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Friday, December 11, 2009
Faces & Places: Kobe Bryant

By Jay Corbin
ESPN RISE

Who: Kobe Bryant
What: The new Kobe Zoom V
Where: The Forum, Los Angeles, Calif.

Kobe Bryant
Trying the shoe on turf was part of the design efforts for Kobe Bryant's new Kobe Zoom V.

As I pulled into the empty parking lot of The Forum and entered through the one-time player's entrance, I felt a sense of history -- a sense of greatness.

Was it because this is where first-name only superstars like Magic and Kareem called home? Or maybe it was because something great was going to happen that day.

When I entered the court area, I noticed it was half hardwood and half turf. I wondered what the relevance of that was to a player like Kobe Bryant, but before I could think too deep on the matter, the hum from the speakers amplified and Kobe was introduced.

He had on the new Kobe Zoom V, and it was amazing. One of Kobe's desires in designing the shoe was making it lower and lighter than the groundbreaking Kobe IV.

Right then, it became clear where Kobe was going with his half-turf, half-court theme. He's a huge soccer fan and feels soccer players change direction and put torque on their ankles way more than basketball players. His goal was to wear a similar shoe on the basketball court to help him quickly change directions with the ease of soccer players and not have to worry about extra weight keeping him down toward the end of games.

Equipped with front and rear Zoom systems, Flywire technology and a great heel-locking system, this looks like the perfect fit for Kobe's no-holds-barred game. As for comfort and performance, stayed turned for my test reports.

Look for Kobe to debut the Zoom V on Christmas when he goes head to head against LeBron James at the Staples Center.