Retro Rewind #4: Kobe 5 - "Bruce Lee"

Welcome to the Retro Rewind series. With Retro Rewind, we’ll be taking a look back into the recent or distant past to highlight sneakers that we loved, came and went, should return, or all of the above. We’ll then give you pointers on how to style them with our “What to Pair?” segment.

This week, we look at one of the most beloved sneakers in Kobe Bryant’s massive vault of classics – the Kobe 5 “Bruce Lee.”

Don't fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”- Bruce Lee

It’s a powerful quote that many of us can apply to ourselves in order to live more fulfilled lives. In the realm of sports though, few applied and lived it more fully than the late, great Kobe Bryant.

After all, it wasn’t that Kobe Bryant went his whole career without failure. He did fail; he missed many game winning shots, turned the ball over a lot and lost plenty of games. He also succeeded so frequently through sheer willpower, superior skill and an almost alien-like lack of fear that those failures are a distant memory while the successes live on in our hearts forever. No athlete embodied the “Bruce Lee” mentality more than Kobe Bryant, or perhaps no martial artist embodied “Mamba Mentality” more than Bruce.

They’re two sides of the same coin, after all; a physical manifestation of strength, talent, wisdom, relentlessness, and determination. Not everyone rooted for Kobe Bryant to succeed (the lifelong Laker hater writing this certainly did not), just like not everyone was as into Bruce Lee as, say, a Jackie Chan. The respect though? That’s universal, because to not respect Kobe and Bruce means to not respect the ferocity in which they were driven to succeed. There's not many people walking this earth that would ever admit that out loud.

It is because of the blatant similarities in the way they led their lives that Kobe admired Bruce Lee so deeply despite the legend passing away when Kobe was a mere 5 years of age. Kobe was known to quote Bruce Lee, and also was a practitioner of Jeet Kune Do – the fighting style that Bruce Pioneered. His most public and recognized display of admiration for the legendary fighter is definitively when Nike released a Kobe 5 colorway 12 years ago dubbed the “Bruce Lee.”

The low top sneaker represented the yellow and black jumpsuit Bruce Lee wore in “Game of Death” and the signature bleeding scratches on his chest and mid-section from “Enter the Dragon.” These features are accentuated by glossy patent leather panels and aggressive red accents that bring everything together. A flawless sneaker if I may say so myself.

Of course, we can’t end a Retro Rewind without first seeing how our resident fashion expert Garrni would tackle this amazing shoe! RIP to Kobe Bryant and Bruce Lee!

"What to Pair?" with Garrni

Garrni: I can’t tell what really inspired this look for the Kobe 5 “Bruce Lee”, however, I wanted something that was simple, casual and fun. This fit could be worn on a summer day or if you’re on the east coast in that nice in-between summer and fall weather (like we’re getting now). I can see an OG sneaker head wearing this or something of the sort. Maybe throw on a snapback or fitted… whatever type of hat is your preference, that would do well with this look.

So for the top, we have the Sunflower Oxford button up by Brain Dead. I really like this because it’s an updated version of a clarion pinstripe button up. The logo with the sunflower slightly pops off the shirt and compliments the sneaker very nicely (if I do say so myself). For the bottoms, we have the new and HOTTEST street brand right now, Gallery Dept. cargo shorts.

You know I picked these because this brand came up in our recent SneakerSpaces and I was on the site and these stood out to me. If you havent noticed, I like subtle yet flashy things (lol) so these fit in that aesthetic for me. And with summer ending and fall peaking its way in, why not get off some fly shorts while you can.

Lastly for jewelry, I didn’t want the jewelers to overpower everything. So the bracelets and ring I went with black and silver. Each individual piece adds some depth and character to the fit. hanks for reading another WTP by Yours Truly! Like what you see (or dont)? Head over to IG and tell us!”

Kobe's sneaker lineup can go toe to toe with any athletes. There are PLENTY of beloved colorways. With A Sneakerhead Paradise's Membership Program, you can request and reserve your favorite Kobe sneakers from past, present, and (hopefully *wink wink* Nike) the future! Sign up, get yourself a free trial, and try it out today!

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