Rasheed Wallace Breaks Decade-Long Air Force 1 Streak
Even well past the shoe's 25th Anniversary, the Air Force 1 was still a regular sight on NBA courts, thanks to the loyalty of Rasheed Wallace. For the first time in over a decade though, during the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic, Wallace switched things up and wore the Nike Zoom Sharkalaid. To my knowledge, Sheed's Air Force 1 streak dates all the way back to June 4, 1999, Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
For Games 3 and 4, as his Blazers faced off against the San Antonio Spurs, the streak began. He wore an all white and silver pair of high-top Forces for what would be the final two games of the season, with the Spurs sweeping Portland on the way to winning the NBA title. Sheed then kicked off the 2000 regular season in an all black and white pair and never looked back. Straps dangling behind the heel, always. As he moved on during his career to Detroit and Boston (and I guess the ATL for a day), the Air Force 1 and Sheed became an expected afterthought -- it practically became his signature shoe. It's also safe to say that no one player has worn one model more. (Though John Stockton and his Nike Props Uptempo were a lengthy union.) There's no word as to why exactly he randomly wore the Zoom Sharkalaid, but he did switch back to his trusty white-based PE AF1 for the second half, so the streak isn't entirely over. Even more surprisingly, the pair of Sharkalaids very well could have come from Rajon Rondo's locker, as the 6'3" point guard and 6'11" Wallace actually wear the same size 13. When it's all said and done for Sheed, it's pretty likely he'll hold two unbreakable NBA records: 1.) Longest streak of games wearing the same shoe. 2.) You're damn right -- 41 Technical Fouls in one season.
Technically, his Air Force 1 streak isn't entirely over, as he did wear them during the second half of the Celtics' Game 4 loss.
So, what was the last shoe that Sheed wore that didn't read "Air Force 1" along the box tag? It was the Air Max Uptempo 3, in Black/ Metallic Silver/ True Red, coincidentally getting the retro treatment this upcoming holiday season. For Blazers fans, Sean Elliot's Game 2 "Memorial Day Miracle" cuts extra deep, as he famously tip-toed the sideline and knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of Rasheed Wallace as time expired. Elliot's shot lifted the Spurs to a commanding 2-0 series lead, and gave them the momentum for a well-deserved title run. For Rasheed Wallace, it marked the start of a decade-long Air Force 1 streak.