words // Zac Dubasik
In 1998, Nike had upwards of 20 signature models in their lineup. There were staple signature shoes like the Air Jordan, as well as those of top athletes at the time, like Scottie Pippen and Tim Duncan.
But the signature concept and athlete influence was so strong, that even players a tier below what would have normally been considered signature level briefly had their own models as well. No offense to Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, but the Air Alonzo doesn’t exactly have fans begging for a retro, and Hardaway is more remembered for his homophobic rant than the T-Bug.
And the signature shoes didn’t stop there. There were also four women’s basketball signature models that year, as Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie and Dawn Staley all had their own models.
There were so many signature shoes, that the concept seemingly met the point of oversaturation, as Nike often does. And by the time the Air Zoom Generation released in 2003, Vince Carter had the most notable other non-Air Jordan line.
It was during this transition period that we saw a number of non-athlete signature shoes and lines begin popping up. Reebok saw huge success with their Jay-Z backed S.Carter line, and later with P...