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

A Look Back: The Story Behind Andre Agassi’s Iconic ‘A’ Logo

A Look Back: The Story Behind Andre Agassi’s Iconic ‘A’ Logo

What’s your favorite Nike logo of all time? The Swoosh and Jumpman logos are obviously number one and two, but after that there are plenty more up for debate.  

For me, the Andre Agassi ‘A’ logo ranks in the top five greatest Nike logos of all time. Agassi was my favorite tennis player growing up in the ‘90s, and I wore several of his sneakers, shorts, and tees while playing varsity tennis in high school. I stared at that logo for years and always felt it was a work of art.

I’ve been following legendary Nike designer Tom Andrich for a while on Instagram, and recently learned he was the one who designed the ‘A’ logo. I figured I had to see if he’d be willing to share the story behind the logo and how it came about.  

Featured on models like the Air Zoom Challenge 1 and 2, the Air Zoom Ablaze, the Air Zoom Pounce, Air Assailant, and tons of Dri-F.I.T. shirts, shorts and hats, the Agassi line in the mid to late ‘90s was edgy, fashion-forward, and functional for those who wanted to stand out on the tennis court. Here’s what Andrich had to say about how the logo was created:

Drew Hammell Andrew Agassi Hat Logo

DH: Can you tell us when you first started at Nike and what your first role was?

 

TA: I graduated from Oregon State University in the summer of ’83, moved to Portland in January of ’84, and was hired by Nike in February. I was hired to be an in-house graphic designer for apparel. I was 23 years old. The apparel design team was very small, so in that first year everybody had several roles; a lot of screen print production work, presentation work, catalog work, and some graphic design apparel projects. It was pretty entry level graphic design work with a handful of meaningful projects here and there.

 

DH: The Agassi ‘A’ logo is one of my all-time favorites – what do you remember about coming up with that design?

 

TA: Thank you. It is also one of my favorites. The logo, and how it came about, is something that I remember vividly. But the actual product around that time, not so much. After working on tennis from ’85-95, I was transitioning to another assignment within Nike and moved to Hong Kong in July ’95. In fact, I never had a hand in the implementation of the logo on the actual apparel from that point on.  

Andre had won the Oz (Australian) Open in January of that year. He had also remade his physical appearance by cutting the iconic hair. Because of this makeover, there was heightened interest in this project internally at Nike. The two highest creative leads within Nike had a difference of opinion around the logo style and what aesthetic would best represent Andre. One director thought that Andre was still a rock-n-roll rebel at heart, while the other thought he was a rejuvenated man and that the logo should look sleek and ultramodern. At the beginning of the project, I was into the abstract paintings of Franz Kline. I just thought the idea behind that art, being fluid and dynamic, matched with the persona of Andre, himself. So I was leaning towards this bold, more abstract concept. I worked on both directions. We presented to Andre (and Brooke Shields), during the Lipton Championships, late at night in Key Biscayne in March ’95. He picked the rebel direction. I came back and worked on a new version. I drew the new ‘A’ on a paper towel to get that bleeding effect. It was intended to be somewhat abstract but, at the same time, be recognizable as a letter form.

Drew Hammell Andrew Agassi Logo Tennis Apparel

DH: How often were you able to meet with Andre? What did he think of the logo and his footwear/apparel?

 

TA: For the logo project, I only met with him the one time when we presented to him in Key Biscayne. He gave great feedback, I went back to Beaverton, designed the revised version, and then I moved on. I believe the tennis apparel product designer, Devon Burt, presented the final version to him. There were no revisions requested, so I feel he must have been satisfied. When Andre came to campus last year to shoot the 30th Anniversary Promo for Challenge Court, I noticed he was wearing a custom pair of sneakers with the ‘A’ logo and that made me feel pretty good.

Drew Hammell Andre Agassi Logo Nike Air Assailant

DH: Wilson Smith designed Andre’s sneakers during the mid to late ’90s – what was it like partnering with him?

 

TA: Wilson, of course, was an amazing designer for Nike. He is such a positive and energetic force of a person. Footwear and apparel designers had a mutual respect for each other’s work. There was some ideation at the beginning of the season but the real collaboration was mostly around color. Any graphic placement on footwear was usually done by Wilson himself. The only footwear that I worked on heavily that had a real visual impact, was the Air Tech Challenge IV.

Drew Hammell Andre Agassi Logo Air Zoom Challenge

DH: What was your all-time favorite project to work on while you were at Nike?

 

TA: I had an almost 37 year career at Nike. I was in apparel the whole time, so there were probably hundreds of projects but not many had the staying power of the early tennis work. My favorite has to be the Challenge Court line from ’90. I just really like the story of the ball logo coming from the ink cap. I like that the whole line looks like a tribute to art from the 80’s/90’s, while still holding up as something modern and unique. It looks like ’Nike’ to me.

 

DH: What are you up to these days?

 

TA: I’m freshly retired from Nike, so that’s a new feeling for me. I still have a passion for sports and intend to keep following my favorites. I paint for a creative outlet. It’s a hobby for now but I’m into it and I did quite a few canvases last year. I’m also a fairly new grandfather and that is very exciting.

Drew Hammell Andre Agassi Logo Air Zoom Ablaze
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