Produced by: Dan Hwang
Written by: Jesse Carr
Our 5th RE-Fresh segment centers on a model that embodies the bold aesthetics that typified the ambitious turn of the millennium â€” the Nike Air Flightposite II. In our last installment, we examined the science experiment of a sneaker that remains one of the most influential retro basketball sneakers in today’s market, the Nike Air Foamposite One, first released in 1997. Attaching an upper made from a hardened liquid to a sole made of carbon fiber in a single cast proved to be a difficult, but rewarding endeavor, as the frequent and highly-coveted releases of the retro models with eclectic colorway names like Dirty Copper or Cough Drop still garner rabid interest. So with a successful foray into the future-forward silhouettes that the Foamposite technology afforded the sneaker fan, Nike began to craft several models with uppers that looked like a Transformer landed on a rubber sole.
The Flightposite II followed the well-received Flightposite I in 1999. The first Flightposite models were not, initially anyway, sneakers designed for fashion. Instead, the meticulous construction of a shoe without a midsole whose laces were hidden beneath a neoprene-like zipper was enacted. The model sold well and found its way onto the feet of many college and pro athletes, so the braintrust at Nike decided to make the Flightposite II Kevin Garnett’s next personal model. Though he had his first signature model in 1998, this marked what may still be the most popular of the Garnett models.
For older basketball fans, it seems like just yesterday that KG emerged as a star. After being the number 5 selection in the 1995 draft, he became the first player in 20 years to be drafted out of high school after Daryl Dawkins in 1975. Most hoops fans know that the game’s two best players, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, were both taken out of high school, and since that time, 39 other players were drafted after their senior years in secondary school. The practice of drafting 18 year-olds, however, ended with the collective bargaining agreement in 2006, and since then, players have been required to be 19 years old when deciding to enter the NBA. But KG’s quick adjustment to the pro game in his first few seasons made him a name remembered not just for youthful exuberance, but also his zeal for winning.