Breaking into the NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings at this point in the season is extremely difficult, but a number of big-name players accomplished just that here in Vol. 8. How did they do it? Some took us back to our childhood by rocking classic retro kicks, others continued to show off new colorways of their signature shoes. One player made his way in by lacing up some of the most location-specific custom sneakers we’ve seen this season.

The race to make the cut for Vol. 8 was unprecedented and the Just Missed The Cut section is overpopulated like never before. We’ve been warning you: The competition will only continue to intensify, but that just means we all get blessed with more insane kicks on the court. Let’s get to it. Here are the 15 hoopers that have displayed the best shoe game over the past week.

15. Vince Carter (Last week: NR)

The year is 2046 and the NBA is celebrating its 100th season. Not much else is certain other than Vince Carter dribbling through the lane and rising for a dunk, leaving us in awe of his extreme longevity. Flashback to present day when Carter is playing in his 21st season and is still lacing up kicks that grab our attention. Vinsanity has lately been paying homage to his days back in Toronto, rocking two pairs of the Nike Shox BB4 in Raptors inspired colorways.

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Vince Carter gives you the early-2000s vibe with his Nike Shox BB4 kicks. USATSI

14. Langston Galloway (Last week: NR)

Pistons guard Langston Galloway has solidified himself as a custom shoe legend this season. His sneaker customizer Andrew Lewis (@andr3wtl on Instagram) deserves a ton of credit for consistently hooking Galloway up with eye-popping designs. His highlights recently include a pair of kicks for International Women’s Day that featured the names of women Galloway looks up to. It’s hard to outshine those kicks, but the duo teamed up and created a pair of shoes for Galloway’s game in Miami against the Heat in a “Grand Theft Auto Vice City” flavor that was just too on point. Keep scrolling to check the kicks out.

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Langston Galloway wore these custom kicks for International Women’s Day. USATSI

13. Dwyane Wade (Last week: 10)

Heat legend Dwyane Wade makes his sixth straight appearance in our Sneaker King Power Rankings. Here in Vol. 8, Wade continues to show off new, vibrant colorways from his Li Ning Way of Wade signature line as he pushes to keep the Heat in playoff contention. We probably shouldn’t be surprised by Wade’s continued success on the hardwood OR his extensive run of insane kicks, but yet here we are week after week.

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Dwyane Wade continues to show off new colorways from the Li Ning Way of Wade line. USATSI

12. James Harden (Last week: 15)

Rockets star guard James Harden is making back-to-back appearances in the Sneaker King Power Rankings. Harden continues to ball out in style as he chases yet another MVP trophy. Harden’s run has come in style with a number of crispy colorways of his signature Adidas Harden Vol. 3. His best pair of the last week is featured below in a vibrant Arizona State colorway — paying homage to his college days — with a popping teal inside. The Beard is killing the shoe game.

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James Harden continues his MVP push in style. USATSI

11. Stephen Curry (Last week: NR)

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry continues to revolutionize basketball with his ridiculous shooting touch. What puts Chef Curry over the top is that he does all that in style. Curry is enjoying the success of his signature Under Armour Curry 6 and has been debuting a number of new colorways lately. The biggest highlight of them all came when he broke out an all-purple pair inspired by a young girl who previously reached out to Curry via letter to ask the two-time MVP why his Under Armour kicks weren’t available in the girls’ section when she was online shopping. Hats off to Curry for linking up with the fan and using that moment as a way to further spread positivity through his footwear. The kicks and message can be seen below along with two more new colorways of the Curry 6.

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Stephen Curry in two different editions of the Under Armour Curry 6. USATSI

10. Jayson Tatum (Last week: 9)

Celtics youngin’ Jayson Tatum is making consecutive appearances in our NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings. The second-year player out of Duke continues to show off his player-exclusive pair of the Nike Adapt BB, the first ever self-lacing shoe to see the NBA hardwood. Tatum kept the momentum going with one of the better custom kicks we’ve seen this season when he rocked a pair of Nike Kyrie 4s that payed homage to his hometown (St. Louis), his alma mater (Duke) and the Celtics all at once.

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Jayson Tatum keeps his Nike Adapt BB PE on rotation at all times. USATSI

9. Derrick Jones Jr. (Last week: 12)

Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. makes his third straight Sneaker King Power Rankings appearance. In Vol. 7, we featured Jones Jr. because of his blend of flashy custom kicks and vintage retros. This week, Airplane Mode soared up the rankings with the slickest and most name-appropriate custom shoes we’ve seen to date. Teaming up with Marcus Rivero (@SolesBySir on Instagram), Jones Jr. broke out a pair of baby blue custom Jordan 11s with his nickname displayed as if it were written as a message in the sky. It just doesn’t get any better than that, shout out to Airplane Mode.

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Derrick Jones Jr., aka Airplane Mode, wearing the custom Jordan 11 kicks. USATSI

8. Tobias Harris (Last week: 8)

76ers forward Tobias Harris is a Sneaker King Power Rankings mainstay, making his sixth straight appearance here in Vol. 8. We’ve documented Harris’ extensive Nike Kobe line collection and his name is one that comes up when you think of active players keeping the Kobe Bryant line alive and well. Harris’ highlight this week came when he broke out the timeless Nike Kobe 5 “Big Stage” in a matchup against the Pacers.

7. DeMar DeRozan (Last week: 6)

In Vol. 7 we said this about Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan: If Nike keeps sending you the brand new stuff before anyone else it seems like they consider you the king of the Kobe line. Well, what happened after that was said? Nike sent DeRozan yet another brand new pair of the Nike Kobe 4 Protro to debut. He’s the king of the line — keep scrolling to check the kicks out.

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DeMar DeRozan continues to debut new Nike Kobe 4 Protro colorways. USATSI

6. Kyrie Irving (Last week: 4)

Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is on a completely out-of-this-world run when it comes to his signature Nike Kyrie 5 line. The only reason Irving drops two slots from last week’s No. 4 spot is simply the competition ahead of him. This week’s highlights include the classic Kyrie 5 “Ikhet Dusk,” a colorway that has only been made available to friends and family so far. Uncle Drew somehow managed to up that sneaker display and absolutely launched the sneaker community into a frenzy when he broke out something we had yet to see before, the Kyrie 5 “Oregon” PE.

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Kyrie Irving wearing the Nike Kyrie 5 ‘Ikhet Dusk.’ USATSI

5. Paul George (Last week: NR)

A shoulder injury caused Thunder forward Paul George to miss some time at the beginning of March, ending a streak of six consecutive appearances in the Sneaker King Power Rankings. PG-13 is finally back on the court and he’s back in the mix contending for the crown here in our rankings. George has been really showing off some player-exclusive kicks from his signature Nike PG 3 line and those really put him over the top this week. Keep scrolling and you’ll be blessed with two vibrant, yet smooth colorways of P.G.’s latest sneakers.

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Paul George in a sunset style colorway of his Nike PG 3. USATSI

4. LeBron James (Last week: 2)

Lakers star LeBron James was our feature athlete in last week’s edition of the NBA Sneaker King Power Rankings after an incredible run of kicks from his Nike LeBron 16 line. The King somehow kept all that momentum going here in Vol. 8 and is still in the battle for the Sneaker King crown. It’s officially the time of year when we’re all on LeBron Watch, and since the Lakers seemingly won’t be in the playoffs, we’re strictly watching to see what shoes he rocks on the court. James had us all buzzing when he broke out the LeBron 16 “SuperBron,” the latest in a long tradition of sneakers decorated in Super Man colors. He kept the heat coming when he debuted a new LeBron 16 colorway that honors the classic Nike Air Max 90.

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LeBron James in a Nike Air Max-inspired edition of his LeBron 16 shoe. USATSI
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LeBron James rocking the Nike LeBron 16 ‘SuperBron.’ USATSI

3. Russell Westbrook (Last week: 5)

As far as showing off new colorways and player-exclusive kicks from a signature line, no one seems to do it at the frequency that Thunder star Russell Westbrook does. The Brodie has been feverishly breaking out new editions of his Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 shoes this week, launching him from No. 5 in last week’s rankings into the top 3. Westbrook’s highlights are featured below, but one of them in particular stole the show: A plaid pair of kicks that were dubbed the Why Not Zer0.2 “Fashion King” PE. It’s going to be difficult for Westbrook to keep this pace and continue to unveil multiple new pairs a week, but, then again, no one thought he’d be averaging a triple-double three years in a row.

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Russell Westbrook likes to show off his signature Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 kicks. USATSI

2. Montrezl Harrell (Last week: 3) 

Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell made one of the strongest pushes with his on-court footwear over the past week, which is why he moves up one slot from Vol. 7. Harrell continues to put his creativity on display nightly and keeps us all guessing on what sort of custom work he’s going to pull off next. This week’s highlights include a Jordan 14 custom decorated to honor late, great rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. The customs kept coming with a pair of Jordan 12 kicks that highlighted in college career at Louisville and a pair of Jordan 10’s with characters from TV show “Rocket Power” featured all over the midsole of the shoe. All the custom work Harrell’s rocked this week is featured below, do yourself a favor and keep scrolling.

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Montrezl Harrell in custom Jordan 14’s (left) and Jordan 12’s (right). USATSI

1. P.J. Tucker (Last week: 1)

Rockets guard P.J. Tucker continues to defy the odds and push the limits when it comes to his sneaker game. Tucker is adding to his legend in the sneaker community and knocking him from the top spot –now five weeks in a row — will have to take an upset the likes of when the Giants stunned the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. This week’s run for Tucker has been how it always goes — we reach a point where we don’t think he can surprise us and then he does just that. Tucker’s absolute gem of the week came when he unearthed the Nike KD 3 “HORSE” sample for a home game against the 76ers. Remember when the NBA brought back the HORSE competition for the All-Star festivities and Kevin Durant won both of them before it was removed? Yeah, Tucker found a sample of the shoes Nike made for K.D. and literally made us all shake our heads in amazement. Tucker’s other remarkable highlights this week include the Nike Adapt BB, the Nike LeBron 2 “Dunkman,” the Nike KD 4 “Texas” PE and the Nike Kobe 6 “Del Sol.” This incredible run leaves me to say this to P.J.: Thank you for always humbling the sneaker community and their shoe collections.

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P.J. Tucker is firing on all cylinders when it comes to his shoe game. USATSI

Just Missed The Cut 

These are the players that are on the brink of making the jump in the Sneaker King Power Rankings: Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr., Nuggets guard Malik Beasley, Nuggets guard Isaiah Thomas, Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson, Hornets guard Kemba Walker, 76ers swingman Jimmy Butler, Heat guard Josh Richardson and Knicks guard Allonzo Trier.

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