LeBron James Chooses To Wear Ambassador 13 Over the Nike LeBron 19 »

Dec 12, 2021 at 5:39 am | updates

Last season, LeBron James made a surprising switch to the Nike Ambassador 13 over the Nike LeBron 18. The Ambassador series is considered to be his takedown model within the Nike LeBron signature line. Actually he has several budget shoes in his collection with the LeBron Witness series reaching its sixth instalment this year. Still, the Ambassador line is exclusive to the Asia / Pacific region. It’s been this way for most part of the thirteen shoes that’s been made so far. Only the Ambassador VII was released globally.

That’s the reason why it was so surprising to see the Ambassador 13 outshine the LeBron 18 in 2020-21. This was unprecedented. LeBron James does wear “other” shoes from his line from time to time, sometimes he goes in his very own Retro mode, but never for that long and by a shoe that’s considered to be his 3rd option. If you check the stats you’ll notice that he wore it 19 times compared to 17 times in the 18s. It was pretty close. He did wear the low-top 18s quite a lot too, which does indicate that something was off.

Maybe it was the tongue? It’s been proven that Nike took a big risk with the Nike LeBron 18 and its “blade” tongue design. It’s very thin. Personally, it gave me a lot of problems and I had to either double sock or add some extra padding to be able to play in them. I know some people didn’t experience this issue. But some did… like me. Based on the comments on my IG page I’d say it was a pretty big deal for other players. Things like that do happen, though. Maybe it “slipped” during the wear testing phase? Other than that it was, and still is, a great shoe, but not perfect.

LeBron James in Nike Ambassador 13 Lakers PE

This makes you think it can’t happen two years in a row, right? Right?! For some reason LeBron James is wearing the Ambassador 13 again this season as well. He did wear the LeBron 19 for the first 3 games (actually two nad a half), but then rolled back to the Ambassadors… just like last year. And this time it’s not close so far. He wore the Ambassador 13 ten different times compared to five in the 19s. The tongue problems has been fixed I can tell you that. But maybe there’s something else preventing The King from fully enjoying the XIX? If I had to guess I’d say it’s either the weight or the ankle collar. The LEBRON XIX is a special shoe. The design is amazing, very futuristic, and you can tell Nike put in all the best toys inside. However, it made the shoe very heavy. Actually it’s heavier that the Zoom LeBron IV, which I never thought would be “beaten” 15 years later especially when nowadays player prefer lighter shoes. Also, I did notice another problem with the ankle collar. The shoe has a very high cut and the material, some kind of plastic, on the edge of the ankle collar is too sharp and cuts/rubs into your ankle. I didn’t feel that while playing but my socks took it pretty badly. That last two times LeBron did wear the 19s in-game he didn’t lace them all the way up! So maybe that’s it, huh?

LeBron did have his signature shoe problems before. In 2013 he did wear the Soldier 7 and LeBron 10s instead of the Nike LeBron 11 due to some footbed problems. In 2017 he wore the Soldier 11 while Nike fixed the LeBron 15 and its stability issues by adding a more pronounced outrigger. The Soldier line was always considered to be his #2 option, which also made some pretty big debuts in the Playoffs so that was not that noticeable as a “problem”. Now with the Ambassador taking the center stage for TWO years in a row it’s super weird. I’m a big fan of the Nike Ambassador XIII, but the shoe has one major flaw. You can’t buy it! An average consumer can’t order these at all. They dropped last year only in Asia and Nike’s and NBA’s huge fanbase in the U.S. can not get a pair unless they pay some extra money and deal with international shipping and potential customs fees.

Some people claim he’s just promoting the Ambassadors. That doesn’t make any sense. Marketing is all about profit and you can’t make money on something that doesn’t exist anymore. Another excuse was the lack of the LeBron 19 as the shoe has been delayed multiple times. That’s also not it, in my opinion, but I will go into that topic some other time.

Anyway, the Nike LeBron 19 is a great design. When you hold it you know you paid for something special and you get the whole experience, which many other shoes on the market lack of. There’s the technical breakdown inside for those who are curious about how it’s made. There’s some special packaging with great story telling on the tissue paper. And the attention to details, the signature elements spilled all over the shoe makes you feel like a kid in the 90s, if you’re old enough, unboxing the Jordans, Pennys, Barkleys etc.

It’s just got some issues that prevent King James from using it the whole time. I did some guessing here. Maybe it’s the weight. Maybe it’s the ankle collar. Maybe it’s something else. Hopefully Nike will fix it soon because it’s too good of a shoe to take the second row seat.