Produced by: Dan Hwang
Written by: Jesse Carr
Nike and Spike Lee have a longstanding partnership that most associate with Lee’s portrayal of Mars Blackmon, the loud-mouthed hype-man with fat frames and a Brooklyn-printed biker cap in the Air Jordan commercials. Decades later, Lee continues to be a major player in the Jordan Brand line, as his Spiz’ike model still sees regular releases in multiple colorways and variations. But while Jordan Brand releases models with Lee’s iconic Blackmon logo, Lee was also instrumental in the campaign for this RE-Fresh model, the Air Raid 2, paradoxically named the “Peace Raid.”
The early 90s was what many call the best era of Nike Basketball releases with the NBA‘s finest inking endorsement deals that made the roster a who’s who of the hardwood. And while street sales were booming, Nike’s image took a hit after Sports Illustrated published a front-page article in May of 1990 called “Your Sneakers or Your Life.” A photo of a gun and a crispy pair of white and red Air Jordan Vs splashed across the cover. With a bit of negative publicity, the brand needed a peace movement. Spike Lee, who had already been a regular in Nike’s marketing, was named in the SI article, and was later called upon to market the second version of the Air Raid.