I'll never forget when the when the pump basketball shoes came out. The commercial was right before Dee Brown went out to dunk, he took a couple pumps on the tongue of his shoes and then ran off to dunk. The thought was that the shoes had helped him reach his maximum potential. My whole childhood I felt like new shoes really did help your basketball game, that they really made you better. Do they? Kicks are nice.. heck be a sneakerhead if you wish. You could always find Mountaineer great Jevon Carter rockin a number of different shades and colors of Kobes ( now he rocks his own signature kicks) but I don't care how new your shoes are. I don't care what Jordan's, Lebrons or I guess now Currys your rockin. If you stink you stink and if you can actually hoop it doesn't matter what shoes you wear. I've seen dudes walk in the gym or hoop at a park with Vans on and be the best player on the court. I've also seen the dude with the new iverson's and all the headbands and shooting sleeves be the absolute worst player. I will say though that it can have a placebo effect where your playing harder bc you feel good in your shoes or gear. sports is about confidence and whatever can add to that is helpful. Like shooting a basketball, any good shooter will tell you you have to see the ball go in in your minds eye before you shoot it. It helps with confidence! And new shoes can make your physical body feel more comfortable distributing weight and adding reinforcement where needed. In that way it also can add to your game but all in all they are not gonna make a scrub into a baller just with a change of shoes. Just like cooking in a chef hat doesn't make you a chef. Either you've got it or worked for it or you haven't. When Dee Brown pumped them shoes and took off for flight to dunk, the truth is ( captain obvious) he could already dunk any way you like. Save the money on your kicks and gear and work on your game if you truly want to be better.