RE-Fresh: Nike Air Flightposite II (2000)

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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 — 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 Copperor 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.

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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.

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After only two years in the league, Garnett found himself among the NBA's elite as an All Star, his first of 14 total appearances at the mid-season showcase. KG won an MVP in 2004, a year before he was the All-Star Game's MVP. But, perhaps his signature moment came on June 17, 2008 just after Garnett got his first NBA title. Shortly after the final buzzer sounded, an ESPN announcer came over to interview Boston's big man. Garnett grabbed his freshly minted championship hat and screamed "anything is possible" and stretched out the last syllable for about 10 seconds before erupting into tear-filled emotion. For those who followed his career, this unabashed honesty typified his most enduring attribute—his heart.

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Nike saw the potential for Garnett both as an athlete and promotional vehicle, and he delivered on both fronts for many years. The Flightposite still stands, along with the Air Garnett III, are his most famous models for Nike. Garnet didn't stay with Nike, however, as he's had subsequent signature models with adidas, And1, and most recently with the Chinese brand, Anta. And while he may be on his 4th sneaker brand, he's been far more consistent with his NBA teams, as he's been with only his initial team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the team with whom he won the 2008 title as an NBA champion in Beantown.

The lightweight model that helped KG through the 2000 season came in a few different colorways, ranging from silver to blue to gold. Each, even the black on black model which we are featuring, highlighted the futuristic, turn-of-the millennium styling that was bold and chunky while giving the wearer lightweight, responsive performance. And while Garnett was finally able to make a breakthrough and win the title in 2008, our next model will feature the signature shoe of an understated player who dominated the first decade of the new millennium—Tim Duncan.

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Original 2000 deadstock Nike Air Foamposite courtesy of Corgi from CorgiShoe, where you can purchase original sneakers like these.