Legendary Athletes That Deserve Knocks to Match Their Kicks
August 8, 2019
The dream of the ‘90s isn’t reserved for only Portlanders. In fact, when it comes to sneakers, the ‘90s is still one of the biggest inspirations for both new designs and retro releases. The ‘90s were filled with iconic athletes that graced the covers of magazines like Sports Illustrated, the front of cereal boxes like Wheaties, and of course, the highlight reels of SportsCenter every single night of the week. With all that attention on the athletes of the era, the sneakers that they wore became a mainstream marvel.
With that in mind, and a little bit of our own nostalgic wonderings, we decided to revisit a few of our favorite athletes from back in the day. Rather than just talk about their greatest performances or the sneakers they wore, we thought about what it would have been like to create CUSTOM Shop Knocks for these superstars' iconic kicks.
How could we not start with the GOAT? Everyone wanted to be like Mike back in the day. Most of us didn’t even need to have a basketball in hand to practice emulating MJ’s signature “Jumpman” pose, or one of his many other gravity-defying dunks. Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. For sneakerheads, he was even more than that. From the first Air Jordan 1 in 1985 to the 1988 NBA Slam Dunk Contest where he FLEW from the free-throw line to the baseball years of the early ‘90s, and through the second 3-peat wearing the Air Jordan 11- Air Jordan 14, MJ had everyone wearing the Chicago Bulls black and red.
Tennis was always viewed as a boring sport until the wild style of Andre Agassi hit the court in the late 1980s. While most tennis players were wearing the traditional collared polo and shorts in very safe colors, Agassi came in with the bright, bold, and baggy Nike apparel that matched his equally loud signature sneakers. His equally wild hair, which was only revealed to be a wig about 5 years ago, was equally rebellious. By the early ‘90s, there was as much speculation about what Andre Agassi would wear to the next event, as there was about how he’d actually perform on the court. In 1992, when he won Wimbledon, it kicked off nearly 10 years of winning, which included the hearts and soles of sneakerheads around the globe.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Baseball and sneakers didn’t always go together but thanks to Ken Griffey, Jr. and his light-hearted approach to the game in the 1990s, the past few decades they’ve been a match made in heaven. Griffey’s athleticism, climbing walls to rob opponents of home runs, and quite possibly the most beautiful swing the game has ever seen, was everything baseball needed. Nike equipped him with his own signature line of sneakers to help him become legendary and “The Kid” became the ultimate in cool for sneakerheads when he entered the Home Run Derby in 1994. With his hat turned backward, Griffey proceeded to take home his first trophy. He added Home Run Derby wins in 1998 and 1999 to become the first player in history to win three times and remains a fan favorite to this day.
If you’re ever in one of those “greatest athlete of all time” conversations and Bo Jackson’s name doesn’t come up, there’s a problem. Unlike most athletes, as a two-sport star that played professional baseball and professional football, Bo Jackson was in the minds of aspiring teen athletes year-round. Thanks to his line of trainers from Nike, Bo became one of the most recognizable faces in the world during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The famous “Bo Knows” commercials and magazine ads, his bat-breaking antics as a member of the Kansas City Royals, and his unbeatable portrayal in the video game Tecmo Bowl made Bo Jackson one of the greatest ever in just a short number of years as a pro.