words // Brandon Richard
Flash back to 1996 – a year that many describe as the best ever for Nike basketball shoes. We caught the tail end of the Air Jordan XI colorways, as well as the first colorway of the Air Jordan XII. We couldn’t escape the Nike Air More Uptempo, as seemingly everybody had a pair in their preferred colorway. The Air Flight and Air Zoom Flight were atop everybody’s wish list and we were all buying different colored FitWrap straps to put on our pairs of the Air Adjust Force. Another one of the countless classics that released in 1996 was Anfernee Hardaway’s second official signature shoe, the Nike Air Penny 2.
Fresh off helping lead the United States to a Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Penny laced up the Air Penny 2 for the 1996-1997 NBA season. Featuring a full-grain leather, suede and Durabuck build, the Penny 2 is characterized by a pronounced Phylon lateral foam wing and carbon fiber support plate. Reflective details, forefoot Zoom cushioning and a large Max Air bag in the heel are just some of the other features of this classic Penny model.
Check out this page from Eastbay’s Nike Basketball 1996 issue, which not only features the Penny 2, but some of the apparel that accompanied the release. High recognizable 1 Cent logo appears on the front of the Penny Embroidered Tee, while Orlando Magic pinstripes appear on the sleeves of the official Penny Shooting Shirt. Rounding out the group are the oddly-named Nike Big Butt shorts, which certainly make you wonder what was going on behind-the-scenes of some of those Nike creative meetings in Oregon. Nevertheless, a cool page of history-making basketball product that you can see for yourself below in today’s Eastbay Memory Lane.