While injuries kept LaMelo Ball off the court for much the 2023-24 NBA season, the Charlotte Hornets star has managed to keep plenty busy. His signature performance line with Puma remains wildly popular, with the most coveted colorways racking up sizable fees on the resale market. Now, the duo are doubling down with Ball’s first-ever lifestyle sneaker: the just-announced LaMelo Ball x Puma LaFrance.

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Designed to attract serious attention on the sidewalk, the bulbous kicks feel like a luxurious spin on puffy-soled, trendier-than-ever, Y2K-era skate shoes. “If you know Melo, you know he does everything large,” the Puma Hoops designer Noah Bice said in a statement. “So we had to come up with a silhouette to fit that profile.” It probably goes without saying, but mission accomplished. This thing is huge.

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“I wanted to create a lifestyle shoe that represents my style and one-of-one personality,” Ball told GQ via email. Glossy and chunky, the LaFrance’s debut cherry red “Amour” colorway is one of the most ostentatious makeups we’ve seen in a minute. For Ball, that garish intensity was very much the point. “The LaFrance Amour is something crazy loud to wear off court. The butterfly midsole, inspired by my tattoos, represents good energy.” The padded tongue and extra-wide laces, as well as zig-zag lace closure, are an exaggerated finishing touch. It’s like an early-2000s rap video in the form of a sneaker.

The LaMelo Ball x Puma LaFrance drops May 17 worldwide.

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