The curtain on Orlando’s first NBA All Star Game in two decades has been drawn for months now. There has been endless debate on the All-Star snubs, the Dunk Contest that didn’t exactly elicit the defining slams of previous eras and finally, the game itself which didn’t get exciting until LeBron James brought the Eastern team within victory single-handedly. From a sneaker head’s standpoint however, their All-Star highlight came with the goodies that Nike dropped in the last weeks of February.
Galaxy-themed All Star packs for the faces of the basketball division hit retailers — including Kobe 7’s, Lebron 9 and KD IV’s – along with the ‘Flight One’ and ‘Dunk’ packs from NSW (Nike SportsWear). None of these shoes however, generated the hysteria that a special (limited) edition of the Nike Foamposite One did, the ‘Galaxy.’
The significance of the ‘Galaxy-themed’ All Star Pack from Nike also served as a milestone release for Nike itself. It marked the first time ever that a gap was bridged between Nike Basketball and Nike SportsWear. People sometimes fail to recognize the two as separate entities, it’s often lumped under the singular umbrella of Nike.
Using design teams from both divisions undoubtedly brought a touch of excellence -and uniqueness – to each of the designs of the various Nike Galaxy All Star packs. To illustrate, the Nike ‘Dunk’ pack, ‘Galaxy’ Foam and ‘Flight One Glow in the Dark (all from NSW) share the same features on detailing, beginning with the ‘Remove Before Flight’ tags found on all three of the respective shoes.
The two design teams used space travel and astronauts as inspiration for designing the sneakers, the “Remove before Flight” tag is traditionally found on spacecraft launching which serves as a warning label to remove, or adjust, moving parts before taking off. On these shoes it is also a metaphor for the jumping abilities of the All-Star’s who wear them.
The removable Nike Swooshes on the Dunks were inspired by the training suits of astronauts because hook and loop fasteners are used to fasten things down and prevent them from floating away in space travel. Last, but not least, space mission patches were used as the basis of inspiration for the logos found on the tongues of the Lebron 9 and KD IV, as well as in Kobe 6’s foxing area.
The limitless ‘Galaxy’ inspiration allows the design teams the creativity to think outside the box to bring out the masterpieces of sneakers into the world – or perhaps, the whole galaxy?
Adding some historical essence to the ‘Flight One’s’ first retro release since its original inception was, 2012 marked the first time that Orlando hosted All Star event in 20 years. Orlando is often thought of as ‘the happiest place on earth’ due to its affiliation with Disney land and the many theme parks in the city, for sneaker heads though, Orlando is the city in which Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway made his name, to this day ‘Penny’s signature line is considered the second best player line in Nike history – second only to a small enterprise from Air Jordan.
The irony here is that people regularly identify the Air Flight One to Michael Jordan because it is the only non-Air Jordan shoe Mike wore in NBA. In fact, Air Flight One is not a part of Penny’s signature line either. Hardaway wore the shoe in one of the franchise’s biggest moments – the Magic’s 1995 march to the NBA Finals, becoming the only team in ‘90s that beat the Bulls in a playoff series.
The greatest hysteria was for the Foamposite Galaxy though, a shoe that suddenly made Orlando the focus of ‘sneakerdom’ for the weekend, and almost stole the thunder of the All Star event. At one point it got so crazy that a pair of US $220 shoes were being sold at US $3000 plus on Ebay. Sneakerheads so badly wanted the shoe that things in Orlando started to get out of hand before the release, things got so dangerous at one point that the city causing the city sent out riot police units to maintain the peace.
Nike would eventually cancel some of the releases nationwide in an effort to maintain some safety for the thousands who lined up to purchase a pair. Some of those people had even started to camp out up to a week before the release. Australia was not immune to the craziness either. More than 600 people lined the streets of Melbourne hoping to be lucky enough to win one of the 36 pairs available by raffle.
What caused the mayhem? Was it the limited nature of the releases? Hypebeats influencing the general public? No, it was the design. There is no doubt this pair of Foams with its ‘supernova’ inspired upper was the reason why many braved cold conditions, and went without food to get.
Designing the upper was a challenge for the teams at both Nike Basketball and NSW during the process. Before the final product came out, different methods of printing were tried and Nike cooperated with their Asian partner by working through rounds and rounds of samples to refine color-schemes, registration and resolution. Sneakerheads were rewarded with one of the most innovative designs in recent memory and certainly demonstrates the amount of care and passion both design teams put into it. The ‘Galaxy’ Foam ushered in a new era of printed graphics.
The release of Nike Galaxy-themed All Star pack did lift the shoe game to another level.