In two days, Nike’s Kobe 11 “Mambacurial” will be available in select Nike outlets in another soccer-inspired line that combines football with iconic basketball figures. The Nike Kobe 11 Elite Low FCB Mambacurials are a nod to one of Kobe’s favorite professional European teams, FC Barcelona, while the What The Mambacurial is an off-shoot of the What the Mercurials. The Kobe-football collab makes sense not only because of the legend’s well-known love of the beautiful game, but because Nike is banking on some key similarities between basketball and soccer that may indicate a new horizon for U.S. sports—the rise of street soccer, and the accompanying tide of fashion, urban culture, and style that’ll surely come with it.
The Mambacurials are meant for casual wear but like the Neymar x Jordan Hypervenoms, which has both an indoor and outdoor version geared for small-sided play, the Mambacurials seem to be proof that the brand is investing more in the 5v5 format. In fact, the ‘X’ in Nike SCCRX supposedly means “10” as in the sum of 5v5, and Neymar Jr is nothing if not the perfect example of an elite pro raised on street ball.
Like street basketball, street football takes the best of talent, trained and tested on the concrete pitch, and captures their energy, technique, and unmanufactured swag. It’s a sport that can be played on any neighborhood corner, accessible to all, and at the same time a game that creates some of the most gifted athletes in the world. It’s no wonder then that Nike’s connecting the dots between these two sports.
What do you think of the Kobe Mambacurials?