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Summer basketball as a shoe showcase

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Customized, colorful Nike and other shoe brands help players express themselves on court

Basketball shoes take on a whole new artistic flavor during the summer months. If you want to see a display of color similar to what you might experience walking around a museum's rose gardens, come out to a summer basketball game and look at the shoes on the court.

During a game between Fairfax and Chino Hills high schools last week, 10 colors were on display.

Many were customized Nike shoes. On Nike's website, there are 15 different colors from which to choose: Flash Lime; Hero Blue; University Blue; Midnight Navy; Cool Grey; Pine Green; Atomic Teal; Game Royal; Court Purple; Gym Red; Volt; University Gold; Orange Blaze; Black; Geyser Grey.

For Nike's LeBron James shoes, you can add paint speckles in various colors.

People used to be embarrassed if they woke up groggy and put on two different colors of socks. Now it's fashionable to wear shoes of mismatched colors.

About the only color missing on the court is white. Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani said it was at the turn of the 21st century that he can last remember his players wearing all-white shoes.

Fairfax point guard Lindsey Drew, who was wearing red Nikes, said of the shoe selections players make: "The brighter the color, the more they stand out."

During the season, most coaches require their players to wear matching shoes similar to their uniforms, but in the summer players get the opportunity to express their personalities on the court. Some of them like being noticed, judging from their neon-like color schemes.

On Monday at the Fairfax tournament, Donovan Ortiz of Lawndale made sure he was noticed by wearing pink Under Armour shoes.

"When I was playing, there were three options: white, black and gray," Chaminade Coach Todd Wolfson said.

Keisean Lucier-South, who plays for Orange Lutheran, explained the summer shoe spectacle this way: "It's mostly about fashion," he said, "trying to show off."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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