I was sitting around thinking about the need to do a new blog. I’ve been stalling recently but this one came to me and I knew it would get me writing again. All this time on the blog and I had not written about one of my favorite things…shoes! I’ve had a love for kicks forever. I’ve had all kinds but at this point I’m mostly a Nike guy. I like New Balance, Converse Chuck Taylor, and Adidas. So with that in mind, I decided to rank my favorite shoes that I’ve hooped in.
My list is all Nike/Air Jordan but I started off hooping in Patrick Ewing’s as a youngster. That was terrible but nothing like the time I played in some dada sneakers. They weren’t even basketball shoes but there I was playing in them during intramural basketball at Murrah. Another shoe that I don’t like to hoop in is the Air Jordan 5. I broke my foot a few years ago playing in a pair. A big omission on my list is the Nike Air Zoom 2K4 Huarache. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this shoe when it comes to performance on the basketball court. I don’t include them because I never owned a pair.
I’ll go in order from number 9 down to number 1:
9 – Air Jordan 1 High
This retro colorway released in 2010. I played in these while in a summer league in New Orleans. Jordan 1s don’t strike most as a shoe to hoop in but I find this pair to be comfortable. I’ll be in search of a new pair soon because I ruined my current pair during an inspection at my old job. They now serve as my grass cutting shoes but 2 weeks ago I hooped in them in the driveway. My wife and I handed out an old-fashioned butt kicking to our son and nephew.
8 – Nike Air Bound ‘93
This is another shoe that doesn’t jump out at most people but I hooped in these in two different stints. The first stint was during my youth when I first started playing organized basketball at the Southwest YMCA. Yeah these were an upgrade from the Ewing’s mentioned above. Then I snatched up a pair during the 2000s when Nike started their trend of “Retro-ing” every shoe that they ever made. I played in these at local parks and found them to be light and easy to maneuver in. Sadly they too became “grass cutters” and found their way to the trash.
7 – Nike Zoom Flight ’96
This was during my middle school years when I was playing ball A LOT and getting shoes at a high rate. This is the shoe Penny Hardaway wore during the 1996 Olympics. So as soon as I saw them I knew I had to have them. This shoe was sleek and easy to play in. Inside – outside it didn’t matter to me. I played in those shoes until I outgrew them. Unfortunately that happened quickly because by the end of that summer it was over.
6 – Air Jordan Aqua 8
The Aqua 8s retroed in 2007 and there I was to pick them up. These are still in my collection and in good shape. I wear them when I can and I hooped in these in various places in Jackson and New Orleans. They are a little heavy but I liked the ankle support they provide. These will always be a favorite pair of mine.
5 – Air Jordan 7
The first pair of 7s that I got and still have are “the Flints.” These dropped in 2006. The Jordan 7 is not only light but also features “huarache technology.” I never got a pair of the original huaraches in the 1990s but I understand why the Fab 5 loved hooping in them. The “huarache technology” provides ankle and foot support that is top of the line. I broke these out a few times while in New Orleans for summer league games.
4 – Nike Air Max Penny 1
The Penny 1 goes back to my time in middle school. As mentioned above I was a huge fan of Penny Hardaway. So in 1995 when Nike dropped the signature shoe Penny Hardaway I was all in. Then they threw in Lil Penny and Tyra Banks on the commercials to seal the deal. I enjoyed playing in these because of the look and feel. Wore these while playing in a lot of youth games and neighborhood pickup games. Ankle support and lightness were key.
3 – Nike Zoom Hawk Flight ’97
I had two pair of these shoes in my 9th grade year. The first pair I got to start the 9th grade basketball season and the second pair during the season. The second pair was gift to the team from Lindsey Hunter. Lindsey was an alum of Murrah High and his brother Tommie Hunter (rest in peace) was a member of our team. Tommie and I had been playing with and/or against each other since the 6th grade. Our 9th grade year we were able to win the JPS City Championship. We lost one game the entire season (at Lanier) and avenged that defeat by beating them in the championship game. As for the shoes, I remember them being excellent shoes to play in. They were light, durable, and provide ankle support.
2 – Nike Air Penny 2
Continuing with the Penny Hardaway theme, I grabbed a pair of the Penny 2s when they dropped in 1996. These were the shoes that I wore while playing basketball my 8th grade year at Peeples Middle School. Half the team had a pair of these shoes – either the white or black pair – despite the fact we wore some yellow uniforms! We even had a few guys that decided to put pennies in the front of their shoes. That was a terrible idea because the pennies fell out of the shoes and rolled all over the court. That season we went 9-0 beating every school except for Chastain by 15+ points. Chastain had a “Peanut” head kid by the name of Maurice Williams who was the buzz of the city. It was a great game but we beat them by 1 point. I went on to join a few of those guys at Murrah High and in AAU ball. The Penny 2 was bulky but I liked them. They weren’t heavy and despite being a “mid” ankle shoe provided great support.
1 – Nike Air Go Lwp
Yes a shoe that Penny Hardaway wore tops my list. The Air Go Lwp was released in 1995 and was sported by Tim Hardaway too. Easily the best shoe that I played in. Wore them for as long as I could. This was that phase when my feet started to grow so I had a few pair come and go. The shoe itself did well outside and inside. It was sleek, light, durable, flexible and so on. It is the first basketball shoe that I remember Nike making that had the “flyknit” technology that is a staple of the shoe company today. To be clear, it was NOT “flyknit” but thinking back on the shoe that’s what I’m reminded of. The shoe was everything I needed to perform basketball-wise and that’s why it sits at number 1 on my list.