Nike is celebrating the summer of basketball by taking a look back at the most iconic basketball shoes from the past 20 years, a journey that began with the Air Force 180 Low and Air Flight Huarache, and continues now with the Nike Air Raid. As with most things, the development of the shoe began on a decidedly non-dramatic note: a yellow Post-It from Phil Knight left on Tinker Hatfield’s desk, ordering up an outdoor basketball shoe. The following day the Nike design legend was on a plane headed for New York, with fellow designer Mark Smith in tow, to scope the city’s concrete battlegrounds. Their mission was to capture the look and feel of the outdoor game, which Tinker accomplished by building a shoe with minimal bulk and a sole that stayed flat to the ground, along with a heavy-duty lateral bumper for added durability. The shoe’s defining feature was the “X” cross strap, designed to deliver a lockdown fit (as Tinker explains, “I was looking at how athletes tape their ankle”), but by sheer coincidence appeared to tie in with the marketing around Spike Lee’s 1992 Malcolm X biopic. Suddenly, the shoe was receiving the dramatic flair it deserved. Twenty years later, Tinker still counts the Air Raid as one of his favorite projects. Appropriately, he’s left with the last word: “We felt that in a short space of time, we’d caught the essence of the shoe itself — a rougher game without officials and referees.” In addition to the 20 designs, find out more about other essential models throughout Nike’s history in our RE-Fresh segment.