Published on August 2nd, 2012 | by Tawann Guice0
Lifestyles Defined Presents: Nike’s Most Memorable Sneakers Featured In The 1992 Olympics Barcelona
For nostalgic sneaker heads and fashion aficionados, these series of questions should have just about force your mind into a state of remembrance. Taking you back to a time when you knew that in the months of February to April; Nike would be releasing some of the most sought after sneakers that any urban teen could get their hands on. I can remember watching the Super Bowls and being so anxious to see what new Air Jordan sneakers would be released. The commercials would send every teen across the city into a frenzy, and you almost could not wait to get back to school to talk about the new Jordan sneakers that were coming out.
In 1992, the Nike team along with Mike J himself would release one of the fan favorites; the Air Jordan 7 aka The Hare Jordan. Nike would also go on to revolutionize the design and comfort of athletic basketball footwear with the release of the Air Force 180, the Air Ballistic Force, Air Flight Lite and Huarache sneakers. If you know your sneaker history; then you would know that until the Air Jordan sneaker became its own entity under the Nike umbrella, the Nike Basketball shoe was comprised of two different types of shoes, Nike Air Flight and Nike Air Force. The Flight shoes were typically constructed with lighter material, lessening the weight more so than it’s Force counter part; allowing for better vertical and horizontal motion and better leaping ability. The Force shoe shoe having been design with more material made them more durable and less likely to give during strong forward and lateral motions. If you can recall watching those old school NBA games you will find that the Nike Flight sneakers were commonly worn by the Point and Shooting guards, and on occasion a Small Forward would dawned a Flight sneaker as well. Your “down low paint players” would need something with a little more stability and durability due to their size and weight, thus you would commonly see Power Forwards and Centers wearing the Nike Force shoes.
With the Olympic Basketball games quickly approaching, and Nike having released their new line up of sneakers; the question that would cross any sneaker head’s mind would be, what the Nike branded players would be wearing during the games in Barcelona. That question would be answered in the best way possible…
The In-Game Sneakers worn by Nike Endorsed Players:
Chris Mullin and Scottie Pippen would wear the Nike Air Flight Lite sneakers. Both players; even though possessing two different styles of game play would essentially require the same type of shoe. Chris Mullin at the 2-guard position and sometimes Small Forward would commonly work off of screens, moving from one side of the basket to the other and finding those open corners and perimeters to take the shot. He wasn’t much of a penetrating ball handler but when he worked himself into an open spot he had a 3-pointer that was almost unmatched. Scottie Pippen on the other hand was a player capable of moving with the ball, penetrating to the basket and rotating the floor for the shot, thus the recommended shoes wear the “Air Flight Lites”
The Nike Air Ballistic Force shoes was a sneaker that encompassed the design of an Air Force shoes with the characteristics of an Air Flight shoe. Lightweight, yet durable. It was the preferred sneaker of both David Robinson and John Stockton alike. For the Admiral; this sneaker was just right for his near zero percent body fat frame, and with his height and weight; this sneaker was perfect in allowing him to move freely around players as if he were playing the Small Forward position. John Stockton was an intense ball mover, constantly working off of the pick and roll, penetrating and cutting to the basket leaping for lay ups or dishing the ball out to the open man. Light weight and durable, the Ballistic Force sneaker was perfect for his style of game.
Players like Charles Barkley and Christian Laettner would require a shoe that was very Specific to their style of game play, direct an to the point. For Sir Charles playing at the Power Forward position; Nike would produce the Air Force Max 180 which was actually one of Barkley’s first signature sneaker to not have his name or player number inscribed on them. The Force Max 180 was also Nike’s first basketball sneaker to utilize a bigger Air pocket control unit located in the heal, adding more cushion for the Round Mound of Rebound when landing on the hardwood floor. While C.B. was sporting the heavy duty Max 180s, Christian Laettner would wear one of Nikes newest designed Flight sneakers badged under the name Huarache. The growing usage of Neoprene sock liners by Nike was being seen in many new sneakers of that time, and the Huarache sneaker would make much use of this as well. One of the lightest designed Flight sneaker to date, the Huarache would only compliment the ever evolving Nike sneaker. A well suited shoes for Laettner’s slash to the basket game play.
Of all of the previously mention; Nike designed shoes, no shoe created would have an impact like the Air Jordan shoe. This signature sneaker would be worn only be Air Jordan himself. Previous Jordan sneakers were designed off of the Flight platform as seen in the Jordan 1 and 2. Some of the Flight style cues were present in the Jordan 3 through 5 shoes as well until the release of the Jordan 6. In some of the later Air Jordan sneakers; shoe creator Tinker Hatfield would take design cues from objects like Stealth Fighter Jets and bombers, high end sports cars like the Ferrari, and Italian style wingtip shoes. Whatever the inspiration Hatfield would go on to design the Jordan 7 shoe which would debut in February of 1992, and later in the Olympic colorway of red, white and blue with silver and gold accents. Jordan’s Olympic Jersey number 9, would also be used on the heal panel instead of his NBA Chicago Bulls Jersey number 23. The Air Jordan shoe sparked the use of many different types of light weight material; making the sneaker by far one of the lightest constructed Jordan basketball sneaker created. For Michael Jordan, a shoe that was as light as his signature created shoe was paramount. His style of game play was that of an all around ball player and slashing to the basket, stopping on a dime, strong cuts left or right and lift when needed was essential. With a light weight shoes like the Jordan 7, M.J. was able to achieve all of those breath taking moves that captivated us then, and even today when looking back.
The Air Jordan 6 and the Air Max Uptempo would be later seen as retro releases while living up to the high standard and level of quality in which Nike has provided consumers for years.
With the coming of the 2012 Olympic Games, this year will mark 20 years since the release of the Nike Air Flight Lite, Ballistic Force, Max Force 180, Huarache Flight and Jordan VII shoes. No different than those 1992 releases, Nike has designed some of the most tech inspired sneakers that offer wide ranges of cushion support, durability, and light weight material to be used in a sneaker today. Perhaps twenty years from now, and Lord willing; I will be around to tell the tale to sneaker heads of then; about the lineage of Nike shoes, worn be the best players in the world and the best dresser in the hood.
Nike Air Force 180 Commercial:
Air Jordan VII Commercial:
Nike: Dream Team USA Commercial: