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For the first time since 2007 and the release of his third signature silhouette, Kobe Bryant and Nike Basketball footwear designer Eric Avar return to a high-top cut with the brand new Kobe 9 Elite. A high-top sneaker that plays like a low, the design marks the Swoosh’s first use of Flyknit on a basketball shoe, pairing the lightweight technology with a knit collar – complete with nine red embroidered details as a nod to Kobe’s Achilles sutures – and Dynamic Flywire for added support while a massive carbon fiber heel counter provides both lateral support and a lockdown fit. Cushioning once again comes in the form of a drop-in Lunarlon midsole while the outsole’s traction pattern is a pressure map of the Black Mamba’s own foot. Seen here in the so-called “Masterpiece” colorway, the Nike Kobe 9 Elite is set to be available February 8, 2014, but will likely see its on-court debut when Bryant returns to the Staples Center hardwood for the first time since last year’s season-ending injury.