Rockets coach Ime Udoka makes surprising change

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors
Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Houston Rockets coach Ime Udoka has been a man of consistency on the court. The 46-year-old Gregg Popovich disciple demands accountability from his players, which is made easier by the fact that he played in the NBA himself.

Udoka's teams can always be counted on to play stellar defense, as evidenced by the Rockets' overnight transformation on that end, as they rank sixth in defensive efficiency in 2023-24, compared to their 29th-ranked defense in 2022-23. Off the court, Udoka has also been a man of consistency, especially as it pertains to his fashion and shoe choices.

For a while, the Nike Air Max 97s were a constant for the Rockets coach. You never saw him wear any other sneakers in public. Take a look for yourself.

Here's Udoka wearing a different colorway of the same shoes.

Houston Rockets coach ditches his past ways.

Despite Udoka's clear preference for the Air Max 97s, he's ditched the shoes this season and has been strictly wearing the Nike Men's Pegasus 83's.

Alperen Sengun, Ime Udoka
Denver Nuggets v Houston Rockets / Tim Warner/GettyImages

Here's Udoka rocking the Pegasus 83s again in the Rockets' most recent loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Ime Udoka
Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks / Tim Heitman/GettyImages

Here's the Rockets coach, on the right, wearing the same kicks earlier in the season when the Rockets faced off against the San Antonio Spurs.

Gregg Popovich, Ice Udoka
Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

I could keep going, but you get the point.

The Air Max 97s are good for jogging and/or light running, as they have fairly good cushioning in the sole. In addition, the shoes contain fully visible air that is suitable for running.

The shoe was constructed with a leather canvas and a sweat-waffled internal lining, in addition to breathable mesh panels. The shoes also contain comfortable cushioning underneath.

By comparison, the Pegasus 83s are more of a lightweight shoe that feels like you're running barefoot with an air cushion. They're easily one of the more comfortable shoes made by Nike and they're highly durable.

For someone like Udoka, who stands for three hours at a time during an NBA game, it's understandable why he'd prefer the Pegasus 83s, although the Air Max 97s are more aesthetically pleasing.

Udoka is the second consecutive Rockets coach with an impressive shoe game, as Stephen Silas constantly wore the retro Air Jordan 4's essentially everywhere.