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Nike LeBron IX (9) Black-Red | Preview

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Having lived the majority of his adult life under a microscope, Lebron James knows that professional athletes are conflated with larger than life characters, their unscripted theatrics more thrilling than a Hollywood blockbuster movie. There are heroes and villains, and their exploits, etched into our collective memory, allow them to attain to a kind of immortality. Dramatic? Sure, but this is an athlete who anointed himself long ago as the chosen one. His latest signature sneaker even bears a line from the Russell Crowe film Gladiator. Inscribed along the toes of the Nike Lebron IX is a statement Maximus declares to rouse his men: "What we do in life echoes in eternity." The words span both shoes, just as they do tattooed across his upper arms. Clearly, Lebron understands the concept of legacy. Whether he's a hero or villain is open to debate.

As for the shoe itself, the Lebron IX is decked out with the latest Nike technology. The Hyperfuse upper features a combination of Flywire and carbon fiber for lightweight protection and support. There's ample cushioning and impact protection via a 180-degree Air Max unit along the heel, Zoom Air at the forefoot and a carbon based shank. Stylized flourishes include Lebron's oversized looping signature on the tongue and extended heel tabs. Look for them this fall.