"When you're talking about shoes, I start thinking about the collaboration from a performance angle," says Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. "You know, I'm cutting, changing directions, jumping. Performance is priority No. 1." But he also draws from another playbook. "I get design inspiration from a myriad of things," he says. "People, animals, weather." For his first shoe with Nike, the 2K4, Bryant's concept was the great white shark. "I was attracted to it for its simplicity and sleek aggressiveness."