words // Zack Schlemmer
images via Yahoo!
The Nike Air Way Up gets its first ever retro release tomorrow, so we'll celebrate by taking a look back at a plethora of the originals on the NBA court.
The Nike Air Up released in 1995 and was promptly found on basketball courts at every level of play. Considered a takedown of the Air Penny, the Air Up featured a "wing" with a jeweled Swoosh just like Penny Hardaway's shoe, but minus an Air Max unit. Although its price and amount of visible Air were takedowns, the number of players that wore them in the NBA was certainly not. The Air Way Up could be found on at least one player's feet on literally any NBA court on any given night of the 1995-96 season.
The Way Up was almost the perfect basketball shoe, with great performance and just the right amount of style: not too plain, not too flashy. Everybody from point guards to centers and benchwarmers to stars like Kevin Garnett, Dennis Rodman and Reggie Miller wore them, but the Way Up is probably most closely associated with Scottie Pippen, who was actually the only player to get his own colorway (added black accents to the white/red version other Bulls players wore).
The Air Way Up goes down as one of the all-time classic Nike Basketball models, and after viewing the amount of players wearing them in this gallery it should be easy to see why. Check out all the vintage NBA shots below, along with a couple future NBA stars in college, and get ready for the Air Way Up's first and well-deserved comeback tomorrow.
Chris Mills and Scottie Pippen
Eric Snow and Randy Brown
Juwan Howard and Theo Ratliff
Reggie Miller and Jim Jackson
Alvin Robertson and Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen and Gary Payton
Vin Baker and Dennis Rodman
Vlade Divac and Scottie Pippen