Basketball shoes have gained major importance with NBA's popularity

In the 1950's, kids (including myself) wore Converse canvas sneakers in black. Period. When I started to play basketball in my teens, the Converse outlet store in Malden, Massachusetts was the place to go. Low-cuts were fine, but a few ankle injuries later, high-tops were the better choice. I absolutely never envisioned just how the importance of what-used-to-be-called sneakers would take flight with the evolution of basketball and the NBA.

So this is the "Friends" version of the Nike Kyrie 5, linked to the popular TV sitcom, Friends. Admitting no knowledge of this shoe's performance, I must say these are a work of art (per's Michael Le):

The Nike Kyrie 5, in its many upcoming schemes, has grown to encompass toolings outside of the usual performance-driven motifs, forgoing the more simplistic hits for inspirations of fond connection to the player from which it earns its namesake. Paying homage to the award-winning sitcom “Friends,” the forthcoming release pairs a monochromatic base with colorful accents connected to the show’s iconic handwritten logo.

I personally have witnessed basketball shoes transition from ugly-to-grotesque, but these are a breath of fresh air - which you may need after viewing the photo below.

No contest, right? The transition of the basketball shoe seems at its peak - at least for now. From the ugliness of the black Converse sneaker - to the glittery, gaudy shoes that came close to making me nauseous - and finally to the Nike Kyrie 5 "Friends". I may get a pair of my own, but they will cost more than the sneakers from the Converse outlet in Malden. No doubt, a LOT more.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and Facebook

Photos via Nike and Converse