Earlier this month, we learned that Vince Carter, aka “Air Canada,” aka “Half Man, Half Amazing,” would be rocking his classic Nike Shox BB4 for the rest of the NBA season. The living legend is one of only seven to play 20 or more seasons in the NBA. He is known as one of the greatest dunkers of all time, and is still hooping – this year with the Atlanta Hawks. His first seven seasons with the Toronto Raptors were quite memorable, as he won Rookie of the Year and Slam Dunk Champion honors.
Also during that time with the Raptors, Carter donned the Nike Shox BB4. As most people know, and French basketball fans try to forget, it was the Shox BB4 that Carter wore when he dunked over 7-foot 2-inch French center Frederic Weis in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Australia. The dunk was one of the most incredible athletic feats ever seen, and Nike couldn’t have asked for a better marketing campaign. “Boing” was made.
Eastbay was one of the main sources for the Shox BB4, which originally released on Nov. 15, 2000. In that holiday catalog, there was a full page showcasing the men’s and women’s models, along with a breakdown of the Shox technology on the opposite page. Designed by Eric Avar, the BB4 was part of Nike’s Alpha Project – a series of sneakers intended to test the boundaries of design and technology and push the athlete to new heights. The BB4 definitely succeeded.
As the description in the Eastbay catalog stated, the BB4 was designed for the player who demands a high level of responsive cushioning and lateral stability. The molded, lightweight synthetic leather upper featured a futuristic, durable shell surrounding a form-fitting, performance-proven internal bootie. The Nike Shox cushioning system in the heel featured urethane columns for impact protection and energy return with an engineered thermoplastic plate to support the columns and provide a stable “footprint”. There was also Zoom Air in forefoot.
The Shox BB4 was so popular that professional and collegiate athletes were wearing them into the 2002 season, and Eastbay continued to sell updated colorways. Everyone from Jason Kidd, to Baron Davis, to Steve Kerr, to Elton Brand was rocking them. There was even an updated Shox BB4 “Mique” made for women’s basketball star Chamique Holdsclaw in 2002, with the same mold but a different upper. At the end of the day, though, everyone knew about the BB4 because of Vince Carter.
“It (the BB4) has all the needs in a shoe that an athlete would need as far as cutting, jumping, landing, changing directions, so it gives you support and another thing I like is it protects your ankles,” said Carter in an Eastbay quote.
Besides the BB4, Nike also created running and cross training models featuring Shox technology. Only the BB4 was worn by professional athletes, however, proving how good the technology actually was. And, the fact that Carter is bringing them back 18 years later demonstrates the staying power of the model. Now that VC is rocking them in NBA games again, the sneaker community is patiently waiting for a general release of this classic model. Hopefully nobody tries to dunk over anyone like Vince, though. Leave that to VC.