Nike's iconic Kobe 6 'Grinch' sneaker is coming back better than ever

One of the most beloved pairs from Bryant's career gets a performance upgrade.

Nike Kobe 6 Proto Grinch

The "Grinch" makeup of the Nike Zoom Kobe 6 endures not only as one of the beloved shoes from the late basketball player's career, but as an obvious choice for the best Christmas sneaker of all time. Bryant busted out the scaly, green kicks during the Los Angeles Lakers' Christmas Day game against LeBron James' Miami Heat in 2010.

Everyone who sat courtside for the marquee game was given a gift bag containing the case — yet another instance of the rich getting richer. Even before Bryant's sudden passing earlier this year, which sparked a gross phenomenon of resellers profiting off his death, the Kobe 6 "Grinch" sold for upwards of $1,000 on the secondary market.

Now, for the 10-year anniversary of the sneaker, Nike is reissuing the Kobe 6 "Grinch" with upgrades as part of its Protro program. Bryant coined the term "Protro" himself, and it's used for his sneakers that have been reissued (or "retro-d") with improvements for performance. The retooling is beside the point, however — Nike could have released the exact same shoe and sneakerheads would eat it up.


This sneaker's a mean one — The Kobe 6 "Grinch" was already fetching enough with its total envelopment of lime green, but Nike outdid itself by giving the upper a raised, reptilian texture befitting of the Black Mamba. Invoking the Grinch's eyes from the original cartoon, accents consisting of Kobe's logo and signature, as well as the laces, were done up in red. It was the perfect shoe for Bryant on Christmas Day, embracing his status as a villain even while facing James at his most hated.

For the return of the "Grinch," the Kobe 6 Protro was made from a new last with a "faster" and sleeker shape. Air Zoom Turbo provides superior cushioning to the original Zoom unit, and the heel is packed with softer and more responsive foam. Down on the midsole, the surface area of the traction has been increased to allow its wearer to make sharper cuts.


The new technology probably only matters to professional basketball players, and we can be sure we'll see the upgraded Kobe 6 "Grinch" on the court for this year's Christmas slate of games. For the rest of us, all that really matters is the revival of a standout pair of kicks with a story to match. That said, respect to any non-world-class athletes with the moxie to scuff these up while actually hooping.

Coming Christmas Eve — Nike has the Kobe 6 Protro "Grinch" slated for a Christmas Eve release, giving sneakerheads and their enablers a last-minute chance for a holiday gift. To test your luck, head to the SNKRS app at 10 a.m. EST December 24.