A Look Back – ’90s NBA All-Stars

A Look Back – ’90s NBA All-Stars

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 Hardaway

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.

Penny Hardaway

Allen Iverson

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.

Allen Iverson

 

Shawn Kemp

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.

Shawn Kemp

Michael Jordan

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.

Michael Jordan

Charles Barkley

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?

Tim Duncan

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.

 

Drew Hammell Eastbay All-Stars

Scottie Pippen

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.

 

Drew Hammell Eastbay All Stars

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.

A Look Back: Holiday 1998

A Look Back: Holiday 1998

There’s nothing like coming home to a fresh new Eastbay catalog in the mail, and during the holidays, the catalogs have a little more magic in them. Back in 1998, Eastbay released two catalogs: one featuring art by David Blake showing “Coach Santa” handing out dope kicks in the locker room, and one featuring the classic Eastbay logo surrounded by white pine branches. I still have both catalogs, and fondly remember flipping through the pages 20 years ago. Though I knew my parents wouldn’t be able to get me much from the catalogs, I still dreamed of all the possibilities. Here’s a look back at some of the memorable pages from those two classic holiday catalogs.

 

Tuned Air Image 2

Nike Tuned Air took center stage that season, with the Air Force Max Plus basketball shoe, the Air Max Plus runner, and the Air Trainer Sky all showcased. Each sneaker featured the revolutionary Tuned Air cushioning technology in the heel and Max Air visible cushioning in the forefoot. Out of the three, only the Air Max Plus became a classic, though it would be great to see the other two return soon as well.

Jordan Images

The Jordan line was impressive that season, featuring models like the Air Jordan XIV, the Jumpman Pro Strong, the Pro Quick, and a limited size run of the Air Jordan XIII (note the tongue is different from the model that actually released). There was also a Women’s Jordan, which was inspired by the Air Jordan XIII. Other notable Nike basketball models include the Air Pippen II, Air Penny IV and Air Max Sensation (formerly known as the Air Max CW).

Running Images

The running section featured some hidden gems, including the Air Max Tailwind III and Air Max 98 TL. The popular Air Max 95 was also featured in some classic colorways. Along with the runners were some notable trail running shoes, including the Air Terra Ptarmigan and Terra Humara. Fun fact about the Ptarmigan: Portland Trailblazers star Rasheed Wallace actually wore them in a basketball game. Also, the Humaras returned this year in some original colorways.

Fan Gear Image

Eastbay has always been known as a top source for NBA warm-ups and jerseys, and there was some incredible selection back in 1998. Nike only made jerseys and warm-ups for a handful of teams, but they were some pretty big ones. The Bulls, Celtics, Lakers, and Spurs all had Nike. You could purchase both a Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan authentic jersey for $124.99. Both are double the price today.

Outdoor Gear Image

One other cool page was the Outdoor Clothing section, which featured a ton of Nike ACG clothing and boots. The ACG line has had a renaissance the past few seasons, and a lot of its heritage can be traced to these pieces. Dri-FIT, Clima-FIT, and Therma-FIT technologies were all huge back in ’98. These materials kept the body warm and dry, and the colors were very fashionable.

Today, I still flip through these catalogs wishing I had a lot of the running, basketball, and training shoes from this era. The styles were so memorable, and there were so many options to choose from. Fortunately, Nike and Jordan Brand have retroed plenty of these models over the years so that we can relive our childhood and holiday memories. Hopefully some of the forgotten models like the women’s Jordan, the Air Force Max Plus, and the Tailwind III will return again soon as well. A 36-year-old kid can dream, right?