A Look Back: June 2003

A Look Back: June 2003

By Drew Hammell

Summer 2003: Beyoncé, Lil Jon, Lumidee, and 50 Cent were heating up the music charts, while The Matrix Reloaded, Bruce Almighty, and Finding Nemo were hits at the Box Office. The era of baggy/bootcut jeans was coming to an end, with the skinny jeans trend on the horizon. Meanwhile, on the sneaker scene, Nike and Jordan Brand were sizzling with a ton of hot summer releases. There were plenty of brand new models, along with some classic retros. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights from fifteen years ago.

Air Jordan 18 1

Back in April of ’03, Michael Jordan wrapped up his final season in the NBA by playing in all 82 games as a 40-year-old. He would wear several different Jordan models that season, including the Air Jordan 18 Mid. Featuring double-stacked Zoom Air units and a magnetic shroud, this model is not one of his most famous. In the past year, however, Jordan Brand has been bringing back the 18 in both OG and new colorways, and the reception has been strong.

A Look Back: The Air Jordan XI “Playoffs”

A Look Back: The Air Jordan XI “Playoffs”

Black socks, black sneakers: a big no-no in the basketball fashion world back in the early ‘90s. The combination just looked strange, until Michigan’s Fab 5 flipped the script and rewrote fashion history with their baggy shorts, black Nike socks, and black Air Force Max sneakers in ‘93. A few years later in the ‘96 NBA Playoffs, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls would pull off the same look on their way to winning the Championship. The Fab 5 started the black sock/black shoe trend. The Chicago Bulls mastered it.

In 1995, Michael Jordan returned to the League after a brief retirement. The Bulls would make the playoffs, and together would don black sneakers on the court (except for Jordan, who liked his new white/black Air Jordan XI so much, he decided to rock them instead of an all-black sneaker. He’d later be fined and ordered by the NBA to wear sneakers that matched his teammates, so he switched to Penny Hardaway’s Air Flight One for one game, and then to his Air Jordan XI “Space Jam” colorway).

The Bulls would come up short that season, but it was only fuel for the ’95-’96 campaign. Jordan would wear his AJ XI “Concord” colorway the entire regular season, but then break out a new color for the playoffs: the Air Jordan XI black/white/red. The Bulls as a team also switched to black shoes and socks for the playoffs. Along with Jordan, Scottie Pippen wore an all-black Nike Air More Uptempo, and Dennis Rodman sported an all-black Nike Air Shake Ndestrukt. Pippen’s Uptempo and Rodman’s Ndestrukt are now both considered classic ‘90s Nike basketball shoes, but Jordan’s XI stood out the most.

Touted as “the best performance basketball shoe for the best player on earth – Michael Jordan,” the AJ XI featured a lightweight, supportive, and breathable combination of ballistic mesh, full-grain leather, and reinforced patent leather with a nylon speed lacing system. A Phylon midsole with a full-length Air-Sole unit was supported by a full-length carbon fiber spring plate to encourage elevation. The outsole was a combination of clear gum rubber and solid rubber herringbone traction inserts. This sneaker was truly a work of art, and MJ would wear it during one of the greatest runs by any team in the history of sports.

During the regular season, the Bulls went 72-10, and then crushed their competition in the playoffs. The Bulls would win their fourth championship on Father’s Day – an emotional day for MJ. After the game, he ran straight into the locker room and collapsed onto the floor – crying and thinking about his father who died several years earlier.

Back in the ‘90s, not many shoes sold out as fast as they do today. But sometimes, a shoe was so popular that Eastbay couldn’t keep them in the warehouse long enough to edit the newest catalog. This was the case with the AJ XI black/white/red.  The shoe was featured in two Eastbay Spring ’96 catalogs, but was gone by the time the second catalog went to the printers.

Smartthreads 1=1 – Profits for Passion

Smartthreads 1=1 – Profits for Passion

 Smartthreads Miranda Hoodie Kansas State 5

words // Brandon Richard

Smartthreads Andy Hoodie USC Trojans 2Back in 2009, Chris Young sat down with his good friend Larry Crabb for a dinner discussion, seeking a business model that would not only sustain corporation operations, but offer a helping hand to those in need. That dinner marked the birth of Smartthreads 1=1, a socially conscious hybrid brand that utilizes a unique concept of 1=1; for every dollar they make, Smartthreads donates 50% of the profits or a brand new garment to a charitable organization.

The profit donations are spread between local needs and worldwide causes, such as people in need due to economic depression or areas impacted by natural disasters. For clothing donations, Smartthreads has partnered with Clothes4Souls, a division of the Soles4Souls non-profit organization that distributes new and gently-worn clothing around the world.

Of course, the question of whether or not this business model can be sustained comes into play. Young admits that Smartthreads 1=1 is operating in the red; then again, so are a lot of traditional business set-ups. However, Young says he feels a responsibility to see things through and has started matching donations out of his own pocket.

The good news is that Smartthreads is steadily growing. This year, they’ve delivered their product to almost 20 colleges around the country, including USC, Boise State, Colorado, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Oregon, Georgetown, Michigan State and many more. Additionally, we here at Eastbay are ecstatic to become the first national retailer for Smartthreads this month.

Available now are Smartthreads college t-shirts and hoodies for both men and women. Men are the recipients of the Andy Hoodie and Dustin T-Shirt, while the more feminine Miranda Hoodie and Raylene T-Shirt are better suited for women. With every purchase, you’re not only supporting your favorite school, but also a business with a vision of giving back.

Available: Smartthreads

Smartthreads Andy Hoodie USC Trojans 1

Smartthreads Andy Hoodie USC Trojans 3

Smartthreads Miranda Hoodie Kansas State 1

Smartthreads Miranda Hoodie Kansas State 2

Smartthreads Miranda Hoodie Kansas State 3

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