Another exciting, albeit shortened, NBA season has winded to a close with a new King crowned in the heart of South Beach.  The Miami Heat captured their second NBA Championship, with Lebron James showing the world why he is the best basketball player on the planet.  On the performance sneaker end, the competition between brands was as fierce as ever.  Top companies Nike and Adidas brought their usual strong performance based around their patented technologies and signature models, while Chinese newcomers Li-Ning and Peak have made a strong impression on the performance side.  To cap off the season we have our top 9 performers from the reviews spanning the months of January 2012 to June 2012.  Our Time Walk special begins with Adidas setting a new standard.

Before we begin our countdown, here are a few performers who just missed the cut:  Li-Ning Hero, Adidas adiZero™ Shadow, Peak Shane Battier VI, Nike Lunar Hypergamer, Jordan Fly Wade 2

Adidas adiZero™ Crazy Light 2

9 – Adidas adiZero™ Crazy Light 2

Adidas begins our countdown resetting the light weight performance basketball shoe ever produced.  Shaving 0.3 ounces off the original, the Crazy Light 2 makes upgrades in terms of fit, comfort, and overall stability.  On the court, Adidas is the king of light weight, and the Crazy Light 2 just solidifies that fact.

Li-Ning Villain

8 – Li-Ning Villain

At the number 8 position comes Li-Ning.  Part of a 2 pack, the “Villain” looks the part and plays it on the court.  Great court feel and fluid traction come to mind when evaluating this exceptional performer.  Although Li-Ning may be an unknown among top brands, the performance of their scant line up this year can not be questioned.  The Villain is simply outstanding.

Adidas adiPower Howard 2

7 – Adidas adiPower Howard 2

Consistency best describes the Adidas Howard line so far.  Starting with the BEAST Commander  to the Superbeast, and now to the adiPower 1 and 2, the only true big man shoe on the market delivers on all fronts.  For the Howard 2, an aggressive fit matches play for the big man who likes plays down low, with versatility is shown for the speedy player with excellent traction and flexibility.  One thing is for certain, Adidas has not left their star athletes with lackluster equipment.

Li-Ning Turningpoint

6 – Li-Ning Turningpoint

Evan Turner had a breakout season for the Philadelphia 76ers, and his first signature shoe is appropriately named the Turningpoint.  The pinnacle of Li-Ning basketball this season, this performer has excellent court feel and stability.  A high cut look helps the shoe turn heads on the court, and limited edition Year of the Dragon specials fit the design seamlessly.  Those players looking for a a hidden gem this season would be wise to check out the Li-Ning Turningpoint.

The first half of our top 9 is dominated by Adidas and Li-Ning, which may come as a bit of a surprise.  As always, we value your opinions so leave us a comment and let us know what you think so far.  In the next couple of days, we will post the top 5, which will have a few surprises!!!