A Throwback to the Future with A’ja Wilson
A'ja Wilson is a professional basketball player and outspoken role model. Discover her story of how she went from benchwarmer to baller.
One of the most exciting parts of the NBA season is always the All-Star Weekend. Growing up in the ‘90s, I looked forward to the Slam Dunk Contest, the 3-Point Contest, and, of course, the main event itself. Through the years, Eastbay made sure to spotlight the League’s greatest stars in their monthly catalogs. I remember flipping through the pages and reading bios about players I idolized like Allen Iverson, Penny Hardaway, and Michael Jordan. The bios were placed next to the sneakers the stars were wearing (or at least supposed to be wearing). It was cool to learn, fun interesting facts about the players I watched on TV so often. Today, Eastbay still makes sure top athletes are front and center in their monthly catalogs.
With that in mind, take a look back at some of the biggest NBA stars of the ‘90s and check out some of the fun facts Eastbay used to share about them.
Penny was an All-Star for four straight years, from 1995 through 1998. This particular image of the Orlando star was featured in the August ’96 Eastbay issue. To his right was the Nike Air Zoom Flight, which he wore during his time on the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team that year. This bio was full of interesting facts about Penny, including the story about him being shot in the right foot as a kid in 1991. Note the strategically placed Swoosh and basketball covering his two shoes so you couldn’t see what he was wearing.
The 11-time All-Star got a lot of love in those ‘90s Eastbays – so much love that they couldn’t even keep his first few sneakers in stock long enough to print them in the catalogs. As a result, Eastbay would publish bios of Bubba Chuck next to other Reebok sneakers. In this photo, AI is rocking The Answer DMX sneaker, but pictured below is the Reebok Ragin II.
The Reign Man was an All-Star for six straight seasons, from 1993 through 1998. In this September ’96 issue, Kemp is shown next to the Reebok Icepick Mid – he wore the all-white version in the NBA Finals versus the Bulls that year. Kemp and teammate Gary Payton were two of the most beloved SuperSonics players of all time, and many sneakerheads still reminisce about their glory days in Seattle.
They call MJ the GOAT for a reason – he was a 14-time All-Star among his many other accolades. In this 1997 Eastbay Holiday issue, Jordan is shown next to the Air Jordan XII black/red, which most people refer to as the “Flu Game.” Jordan wore that colorway in the NBA Playoffs, and the black/white AJ XII in the ’97 All-Star Game.
On this summer ’96 Eastbay back page, Barkley is seen playing for the Phoenix Suns alongside his signature Air CB 34 Mid sneaker. This bio was great because it shared the backstory behind his jersey number choices. Did you know: Barkley chose to wear the number 10 in the 1996 All-Star Game because that was the 10th one he was selected to? Additionally, did you know that during that season, he became only the tenth player in league history to achieve career marks of 20,000 points and 10,000 rebounds?
The Big Fundamental was a 15-time All-Star and won five NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs. He spent the first part of his career wearing Nike sneakers before switching over to adidas. In this picture, he is seen wearing the Nike Air Vis Zoom Uptempo, which, as the name suggests, featured visible Zoom Air in the heel and forefoot.
Pippen was selected to seven All-Star Games in his career, and of course also won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls. Scottie had a great story because, when he went to the University of Central Arkansas, he originally wasn’t even on the team. Then, when he was drafted by the Sonics with the fifth pick, they traded him to the Bulls, and the rest was history.
All of these athletes were incredible in their own unique ways. Each was capable of completely taking over and dominating a game, carrying their team to victory. You can check out these players’ stories by scrolling through the carousel below, and if you need some more modern gear to ball in check out Eastbay.com.
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