Basketball shoes remain a hot commodity years after Michael Jordan turned them into a mainstream retail item. That means they've also become a hot target for criminals.

Nike narrowly missed being the victim of a huge attempted heist in Memphis, Tennessee, home to one of the company's major shipping facilities. One man managed to steal an entire trailer loaded with 7,500 pairs of LeBron 12s, the latest basketball shoe in the LeBron James line.

Considering those shoes can retail for as high as $250, such a large payload represents huge value -- anywhere from $700,000 to $1 million, according to Memphis police.

And as easy as it would seem to track down a trailer of Nike products, police said 700 pairs are yet to be found.

Whether as a status symbol or a way of investing further into the identity of their favorite athletes, fans have built a huge shoe market that can't seem to satisfy demand.

For as cool as LeBron's latest shoe and its marketing campaign have come off, they face many competitors on the market.

Chicago's Derrick Rose has his own line of shoes with Adidas known as the adiRose collection, which claims to be the lightest line of basketball shoes ever made. Portland's Damian Lillard has his own shoe from Adidas that features his rap lyrics on the exterior.

LeBron has competition with Nike, too. Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant made headlines earlier this week for gifting an autographed pair of his Nike shoes to a teen who was mugged and had his shoes stolen off his feet. And this month, Nike announced that LeBron teammate Kyrie Irving would be coming out with his own line of basketball shoes.

And don't forget about MJ: Air Jordans remain a hot seller even though its namesake is 51.

According to Forbes, the basketball shoe market is only growing, reaching a new peak of $4.5 billion in sales in 2013. With those kinds of numbers, don't expect criminals to stop targeting the footwear.

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