One particular Olympic anecdote that sums up Barkley’s characteristic passion happened after the United States lost their first Dream Team practice in their first scrimmage with a team of college All-Americans. Supposedly, Barkley went to the bench during the second scrimmage and said that he would “personally kick anyone and everyone’s ass” that didn’t defend their man. The rest is history, and the legendary Dream Team destroyed opponents on their way to winning the gold by an average of 43.8 points.
Nike knew the world stage would be an ideal venue to feature some patriotic colorways of their signature models. Most famously, the Air Jordan VII was crafted in red, white, blue, silver, andâ€”appropriately, gold. The Air Force 180 that Barkley debuted was called a low top in order to separate it from David Robinson’s Air Force 180 high top that came out one year earlier. This model was characterized by it its almost triangular air bubble with 180 Air that added additional cushioning. The midfoot strap boasted the “FORCE” logo and the tongue a bold, gold embroidered “180 Air.” And the color scheme was made more sophisticated by the gradient heel midsole above the air bubble which featured a speckled fade from gold to navy blue, a design feature that would later make a limited edition release of the Air Force 180 from LA’s UNION storefront so ahead of its time.