A Look Back: Nike Basketball Holiday ’96

A Look Back: Nike Basketball Holiday ’96

Happy Holidays! It’s the most wonderful time of the year – when kids and adults start making their wish lists for all the sneakers and gear they love. I remember wanting A LOT of the sneakers and apparel just in the Nike Basketball section alone back in December of 1996. It was a different era back then – when you waited every day for the Eastbay catalog to arrive in the mail. Then when you opened it, you literally saw all the new sneaker models for the first time. It was overwhelming to say the least!

I still have two of the original Eastbay Holiday ‘96 catalogs – one with a cover displaying a Christmas tree with stars like John Elway and Shawn Kemp displayed as ornaments, and another cover with a cartoon of a basketball-playing elf that forgot his shoes. Fortunately, Eastbay came to the rescue!

Every Eastbay catalog had an introduction paragraph from founders Art Juedes and Richard Gering with a little inspirational message. “Make two wish lists this holiday season. On the first, list the athletic accomplishments you plan on achieving in your present sport and during the new year. On the second, include the finest shoes, clothing and equipment from Eastbay necessary to help you achieve these goals,” wrote Juedes and Gering.

It was cool to see the founders of the company still so involved with the catalog publications. It felt like a mom and pop shop that had everything you could ever imagine. With that in mind, here’s a look back at the Nike Basketball pages from 25 years ago.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike Air More Uptempo basketball shoe

Air More Uptempo

A sneaker that is still as popular as it was 25 years ago, the Air More Uptempo continues to retro every year in both OG and new colorways. For the holidays in 1996, Nike released a black/white/chili red colorway that has yet to ever see a retro. Designed by Wilson Smith, the More Uptempo was a revolutionary sneaker in terms of design and technology. It was one of the first basketball sneakers to feature visible Air throughout the shoe. Scottie Pippen made the shoe famous when he rocked the black/white colorway in the ‘96 Playoffs. Unfortunately, he never wore this particular colorway on the court.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike Air Much Uptempo Basketball Shoe

Air Much Uptempo

The “takedown” version of the Air More Uptempo, the Much Uptempo featured virtually the same design but with a different sole. For Holiday ‘96, Nike dropped a sleek white/black colorway for men, along with a white/navy/royal and white/obsidian colorway for the ladies. Sadly, the Much Uptempo has yet to retro.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike Air Penny Mid, Air Money Lo and Air CB 34 Mid

Air CB 34

Also designed by Wilson Smith, the Air CB 34 was made for Suns superstar Charles Barkley. After being traded by the Sixers to the Suns in 1992, Barkley started rocking a ton of Nike heat. He became so popular, he earned his own sneaker line. Like the Air More Uptempo, the CB 34 also featured visible Air throughout the sole. The CB 34 last retro’d in 2016.

Air Money Lo

The Air Money was a wild design, even by ‘90s Nike basketball sneaker standards. With a fascinating lacing system and shroud covering with the large NIKE AIR lettering covering the top of the sneaker, the Money was a bold sneaker in many ways. It was actually worn by players like Reggie Miller and Eddie Jones in the NBA, so clearly it was meant for serious hooping. The Money also featured the same exact sole as the Much Uptempo. Interestingly, the Money came back in 2018, but with the More Uptempo sole instead.

Air Penny 2

Nike was cranking out one epic sneaker after another for their newest star, Penny Hardaway. The Air Penny 1 was nice, and the Air Zoom Flight was amazing as well. Then, Nike released the Air Penny 2. Incredibly, this shoe was $5 more than the Air Jordan 12; that’s how popular Penny Hardaway was back in the day. And, it’s safe to say that the $139.99 price tag was worth it. Featuring a forefoot Zoom-Air unit and a massive Air Max visible heel unit, the Air Penny 2 was packed with cushioning along with its breathtaking design. Also note the outsole shown in the catalogs was all white, whereas the actual sneaker that dropped had blue on the bottom.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike  Air Zoom Flight, Air Flight Mid, Air Jordan XXII Basketball Shoes

Air Zoom Flight

Arguably Nike’s most responsive sneaker at the time – the Air Zoom Flight (now known as the Air Zoom Flight 96) featured Tensile-Air, aka Zoom Air, in the forefoot. It also had a large-volume heel Air Sole unit. The Zoom Flight had incredible cushioning, plus it had a TPU midfoot stability plate that helped propel your foot off the ground. Magic star Penny Hardaway wore the white/navy/gold colorway when he played for the Team USA basketball team in the ‘96 Olympics.

Air Flight Mid

The Air Flight Mid was a takedown version of the Air Zoom Flight. It was not nearly as comfortable as the Zoom Flight, but still looked cool. The Flight Mid featured Nike Air in the heel, but lacked the Tensile-Air in the forefoot. It still had the shank plate to enhance stability, and also had full-grain leather with a “super skin” reinforced rand. Most notably, Kings guard Mitch Richmond rocked the Air Flight Mid when he was on Team USA.

Air Jordan 12

One of the most breathtaking designs ever – the Air Jordan XII was the best for the best – Michael Jordan. Featuring full-length Air and a reinforced carbon fiber plate, the Air Jordan 12 was one of the sleekest, most stylish basketball sneakers ever seen on the basketball court. To go along with the sneaker was the iconic Nike Phone Ad plus the “Frozen Moment” commercial where MJ takes on the LA Lakers. Now known as the “Taxi” colorway, OG sneakerheads typically refer to this model as just the “White/Black” AJ12.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike Air Adjust and Air Modify Force Basketball Shoes

Air Adjust and Air Modify Force

Yet another revolutionary model for Nike – the Air Adjust and Air Modify Force sneakers came with a pair of FitWrap straps that you could put on the shoes. There were also 11 different team colors available, so you could all match your jerseys and your shoes. Color coordination was very important in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, so these straps were everything for high school and college teams. The Air Adjust and Air Modify have never retro’d, however designer Yoon of AMBUSH has teased a potential retro on her social media recently.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Nike Basketball Apparel

Apparel

It’s definitely worth highlighting all the Nike basketball apparel available that holiday season, including Nike Jumpman practice tanks, tees, sweatshirts and warm-ups. The main color schemes were black, red, white and taxi, which matched the Air Jordan 12 perfectly. Also of note were some very stylish Durasheen shorts and tees. Durasheen would be Nike’s go-to mesh material for a solid 5 years. There was something about that shimmery shine that everyone loved.

Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories or read more of his work here.

A Look Back: The Best Basketball Sneakers From October 2006

A Look Back: The Best Basketball Sneakers From October 2006

It seems difficult to fathom, but some pretty well-known sneakers that dropped in 2006 are already 15 years old. This fall, shoes like the LeBron IV, Kobe 1, and Air Max 360 are just five years away from turning 20. Back in ‘06, future legends like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tracey McGrady, and Dwyane Wade were making names for themselves. Some of the shoes they were wearing became legendary as well. Here are some of the memorable basketball sneakers from that October 2006 Eastbay catalog.

Nike

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike LeBron
Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike Kobe

This was back when LeBron James was really taking off in popularity. Entering his fourth season with the Cleveland Cavs, LeBron also had a new sneaker: the Zoom LeBron IV. Featuring a full-length Zoom Air unit, this model has definitely been a fan favorite over the years. Most people also say this sneaker was built like a tank, weighing a whopping 27.8 ounces. You could also still cop the LeBron III in the low-cut model as well.

The Zoom Kobe 1 was also available that month in the all-black colorway. There were also four colorways still available in the Eastbay Outlet section for $99.99. This was Kobe Bryant’s first official model with Nike after he left adidas and entered one of the most amazing sneaker free agency periods of all time.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike Air
Look Back Eastbay Catlaog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Nike

Other popular models that season were the Air Max 360 and Air Max 180. As described in the name, the Air Max 360 featured a completely full-length, Air-Sole unit for the most Air cushioning ever. The Air Max 180 had a massive Air Max heel unit along with Zoom Air in the forefoot. Those who hooped in these always have fond memories of them.

Team Basketball sneakers were incredibly popular back then, with the Air Zoom Huarache Elite TB, Air Max Elite TB, and Shox Elite TB being the top choices for high school and college players. The Huarache Elite was designed for smaller, quicker guards, and the Air Max Elite and Shox Elite were built for bigger players. Each model came in just about every colorway imaginable for team matching.

As for retro models, there were a few familiar sneakers available as well, including the Air More Tempo, Air Max Penny IV, and Air Max 2 CB ‘94 Low. Nike was trying to bring back some popular models from 10 years earlier by adding in some new colorways. Unfortunately, the colorways were a bit too off and never really caught on with sneakerheads.

Jordan Brand

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Jordan Brand Carmelo Anthony

Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony was entering his fourth season in the NBA as well, and his signature Jordan Brand sneaker was grabbing everyone’s attention. The October 2006 Eastbay featured the Jordan Melo M3 along with a matching apparel collection. The Jordan XXI PE and Low models were also available that month.

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Jordan Brand

Retro Jordans were continuing to grow in popularity, with the Air Jordan IV ‘Military Blue’ available for kids. There were also four new colorways of the Air Jordan V, including the ‘Green Bean’ colorway, which is rumored to return in 2022.

There was also a ton of Jordan apparel, including authentic on-court UNC, Georgetown and California warmups.

adidas

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 adidas

With Kobe Bryant leaving for Nike in 2003, the new star for adidas was Rockets star Tracy McGrady. His T-Mac sneaker line was packed with high-performance models, including the T-MAC 6, T-MAC Trainer, and T-MAC III. There was also the adidas Courtshark, which was inspired by the T-MAC 5. Retro-wise, the Crazy 8 retro was very popular. This model was originally worn by Kobe Bryant, but was marketed for Wizards star Gilbert Arenas in 2006.

Converse

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Converse Dwyane Wade

Coming off the Heat’s 2006 championship season, Dwyane Wade’s sneaker stock was soaring. In the summer of 2003, Wade left Jordan Brand and signed a deal with Converse, somewhat surprising the sneaker world. Wade’s 1.3 Mid and Signature LE were both available in the October 2006 catalog.

Reebok

Look Back Eastbay Catalog Basketball Sneakers October 2006 Reebok

2006 would be a challenging year for Sixers star Allen Iverson, as he was traded in December to the Denver Nuggets. Iverson was still Reebok’s #1 athlete though, and still had a loyal following. That fall, the Answer X released, featuring Pump Adjustable technology for a custom fit. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Iverson’s Question Mid was still incredibly popular 10 years later, and still was available in many different sleek colorways.

Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories or read more of his work here.

A Look Back: Nike Sneakers At The 2000 Summer Games

A Look Back: Nike Sneakers At The 2000 Summer Games

After an extra year-long wait, the Summer Games are finally here. We didn’t have to wait a full year for the games to begin back in 2000, but we did have to wait until September. The Summer Games were held in Sydney, Australia in the Southern Hemisphere, which meant it was too cold to hold them in July and August, since it was technically still winter down under. For reference, the coldest month of the year in Sydney is July, when it averages around 60 degrees outside. Who would want to swim in a pool when it’s that cold?

Though it made sense to delay the games until it got warmer, it was kind of a bummer for kids in the US, since September was the beginning of the school year. Plus, the time difference meant we couldn’t watch anything live. There were still some memorable sneaker moments worth reminiscing about though, and it was certainly an entertaining competition, so here’s a look back at some of the kicks featured during the 2000 Summer Games, along with a few USA-themed sneakers that dropped that month, as well.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Air Flightposite II

Nike Air Flightposite II

Nike was really onto something with the ultra-futuristic Foamposite that dropped in 1997. They followed that up with the introduction of the Flightposite in 1999. The successful run of foam-based sneakers continued with the introduction of the Flightposite II in 2000. Featuring a hyper-thin (2mm), fully integrated Foamposite construction upper with dynamic fit Lycra full-length inner sleeve, the Flightposite II also boasted an external forefoot “shroud” construction along with forefoot and heel Zoom Air units. Worn by Kevin Garnett, the Flightposite II would be the last sneaker he wore while with Nike before signing with AND1.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Air Zoom GP II

Air Zoom GP II

It’s kind of crazy that this model doesn’t get more love. Personally, the Air Zoom GP II is a sneaker I’d love to see retro. At the time, the Air Zoom GP II was Gary Payton’s latest state-of-the-art sneaker. Gary Payton was on a roll with one successful sneaker after another. I remember testing out the Air Zoom GP II when it dropped and finding it a bit more rigid than the Air Zoom GP, but it was still an incredible sneaker. Featuring a lightweight synthetic leather “shimmer” upper, and a fully internalized Phylon midsole with forefoot and heel Zoom Air units, the Air Zoom GP II was Gary Payton’s go-to sneaker during the 2000 games.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Shox BB4

Nike Shox BB4

In my opinion, the Nike Shox BB4 defined the 2000 Olympic Games, thanks mostly to Vince Carter and the “Dunk of Death.” I remember watching the highlights in shock as the Raptors star literally jumped OVER 7’2” French Center Frederic Weis. It was the moment that people still talk about today, and on Carter’s feet were those futuristic new sneakers, the BB4. Described in Eastbay as built “for the player who demands a high level of responsive cushioning and lateral stability,” the Shox BB4 featured a molded, lightweight synthetic upper with a futuristic, durable shell surrounding a form-fitting, performance-proven, internal bootie. The Nike Shox cushioning system in heel featured urethane columns for impact protection and energy return and an engineered thermoplastic plate to support the columns and provide a stable “footprint”. Plus, they even had Zoom Air in the forefoot. A few other players also rocked the Shox, but for most people the most memorable one to do it was VC. Carter debuted them at the Olympics, but they didn’t officially release until November.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Air Max Tailwind 5 and Nike Air Presto

Air Max Tailwind 5

Although the Air Max Tailwind 5 may not be the most famous Tailwind, it was certainly a well-crafted runner packed with awesome features. For the runner seeking great cushioning, durability and support, the Tailwind 5 was designed with lightweight mesh and a synthetic upper. The Tailwind 5 also had a full-length polyurethane midsole with a heel Tuned Air unit and visible forefoot Air-Sole unit. They were good enough for Team USA basketball star Tim Hardaway to wear. Though the Tailwind 5 has not gotten much retro love over the years, Nike did bring them back this year in the OG white/navy colorway.

Air Presto

Everyone loved the Presto back in 2000. Nike marketed the quirky silhouette as “Simply irresistible comfort for runners – like a t-shirt for the feet.” The Presto was unique because it came in small, medium, and large – not numbered sizes. It had a dynamic stretch mesh upper for a sock-like, ultra-comfortable fit, along with an engineered support cage which provided midfoot security. The full-length Phylon midsole included an encapsulated heel Air-Sole unit and expanding arch. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Presto, Nike released a USA retro version last year.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Air Max Plus

Air Max Plus

Back in 2000, the Air Max Plus was enjoying one heck of a run. Everyone loved the smooth, wavy lines along the upper and the bouncy, supportive Tuned Air cushioning system. It seemed like everyone had a pair of Air Max Plus sneakers back then. With a synthetic one-piece upper with TPVR ribs for glove-like fit. There was also a visible forefoot Air Sole unit and Tuned Air pillars in the heel to produce maximum cushioning. Nike dropped a USA-themed colorway just in time for the Summer Games in a striking obsidian/red/gold silhouette.

Eastbay Catalog Summer 2000 Olympics Nike Air Max International

Air International Max

For the runner who wants cushioning, durability and value, Nike offered the Air International Max. Originating from the successful Nike Triax line, the Air International Max featured a synthetic leather upper with breathable mesh. It had a full-length, low-density polyurethane midsole with low-pressure heel Air-Sole unit and a visible forefoot Air-Sole unit. It came in an obsidian/red/white colorway with a USA logo on the tongue for all the patriotic runners out there.

Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories

A Look Back: June 1996

A Look Back: June 1996

If you were a kid growing up in the ‘90s, the Eastbay June ‘96 catalog captured the magic of those long summer days perfectly.  

Remember when…We played from sunrise to sunset. Occasionally, someone would ask the score. No one knew. No one cared. Just friends who love the game,” read the caption on the front cover. 

This really was my childhood and how I spent my summer in 1996. I had just wrapped up the 8th grade, and literally played sports all day into the evening everyday without a care in the world. I had two, maybe three pairs of shorts. I had one pair of sneakers. I had no cell phone. It didn’t matter.  

Aside from no one owning a cell phone, the World Wide Web was also in its infancy. At least half the country didn’t even have a modem yet. Michael Jordan and the Bulls were on their way back to the NBA Finals vs the Seattle Supersonics, and we were all buzzing about the summer Olympics kicking off in Atlanta in a few weeks.  

It’s safe to say that June 1996 was the start of one of the most epic summers of all time. Here’s a look back at some of the footwear we were rocking back then.

Basketball

A Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Basketball
A Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Basketball 2

With the Bulls and Sonics facing off in the NBA Finals, everyone was talking about Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. On these pages you can see some of the gear they rocked, including Pippen’s Air More Uptempo and Rodman’s Air Shake Ndestrukt. Dennis Rodman was so influential, he even had another shoe called the Air Worm Ndestrukt. Plus, the Air Rattle Ndestrukt and Air Roll Ndestrukt dropped as well. Charles Barkley’s Air CB 34 dropped in a new black/purple colorway, and Jason Kidd’s Air Zoom Flight was available in a white/royal/emerald color. Many consider this the peak of ‘90s basketball because there were so many revolutionary models to choose from.

Shop eastbay.com for today’s top Nike Basketball Shoes.

Running

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Running Shoes

The Air Max 96 and Triax were big that summer. If the Triax looks familiar, it’s because Nike just brought them back last year in the classic white/royal and the USA edition colorways. I remember a lot of moms and dads were rocking the Air Structure Triax and Air Windrunner back in the day too. Plus, Nike was debuting some really dope Team USA apparel for the Olympics in Atlanta. Featuring hats, tees and shorts, the USA Track & Field gear from that summer Olympics is highly coveted today by vintage collectors.

Shop the lnewest Nike Running Shoes & Apparel at eastbay.com.

Trainers

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Training Shoes

So many trainers to choose from! Nike cross trainers were clutch because you could play multiple sports in them. The Air Slant, Air Vapor and Air Barrage were designed for football, and the Air Diamond Fury 2 and Air Griffey Max were for baseball. Plus, Nike dropped the all-new Air Muscle Max – the most cushioning ever in a cross trainer. All these models could be used for other sports like outdoor basketball as well.

Shop eastbay.com. for today’s top Nike Training Gear.

Tennis

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Tennis

Andre Agassi’s Air Alarm was a big hit, as he won the gold medal for team USA in the Olympics rocking them. The Sonics’ Gary Payton also rocked the Alarm for a few games in the NBA. Plus everyone loved the durability of the Air Resistance II+, which was worn by Jim Courier as well as dads at every country club around the globe. Even Reebok and Adidas had some cool silhouettes like the Vindicator and Integral Lo.

Hiking

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Hiking Shoes
Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories

Cut, Jump, and Run. The Nike Greater Than Series Has Arrived

Cut, Jump, and Run. The Nike Greater Than Series Has Arrived

Dropping May 25, 2021

 

Creating space is the ultimate goal in basketball. It could be space to get your shot off, space to make a better pass to a teammate, or space to grab an offensive rebound. There are plenty of different ways to create space on the court, whether it’s outrunning a defender, perfectly timing a cut, or simply jumping over them. To help you create space more easily, Nike is launching the Zoom Air Greater Than series. This collection has three silhouettes that are specifically designed to help you get the most out of your cuts, speed, or hops.

The Nike Air Zoom GT Cut is built for players who thrive off perfectly timed cuts. Whether it’s a backdoor cut for an easy layup or you’re slicing inside to open up room for a teammate, the geometry of the GT Cut caters to a low-to-the-ground sensation. There is a parabolic Zoom Air Strobel and heel Air Zoom Unit that help you go from standing still to exploding to the basket in a split second. It also provides the comfort and responsiveness that every player loves.

Along the front side of the shoe, just above the outsole, is a stabilizing rail guard that gives your foot more support, so you’re not getting tripped up as you explode off either foot. Nike designers also incorporated a molded tongue to improve the fit and comfort of the shoe.

The Nike Air Zoom GT Cut hits eastbay.com on May 25. Stay tuned throughout the year for the launch of the GT Run and GT Jump silhouettes. We will be updating this piece as more information comes in.