words & image // Zack Schlemmer

Shawn Respert's tale is another of a college superstar that never matched his success in the NBA.  Respert went to Michigan State where he was a star shooting guard for the Spartans and became the 1995 Big Ten Player of the Year.  Shawn unfortunately only lasted four seasons in the NBA after being the 8th pick in the 1995 draft.  In his four years he only played 172 games and scored a total of 851 points.  Remarkably, throughout Shawn's NBA career he battled stomach cancer, but only a select few knew about it until 2005 when he publicly announced he had been diagnosed back in 1996.

On this 1996-97 Upper Deck Collector's Choice card, we see Respert as a Milwaukee Buck in the Nike Air Way Up, along with Lindsay Hunter in the same shoe.  It's not really much of a coincidence that two players are spotted on the same card in the Wayup since it was one of the most popular shoes worn at one time or another by almost every NBA player endorsed by Nike.  The Wayup released in 1995 and was notably worn by stars like Jason Kidd, Scottie Pippen and Kevin Garnett,  but if you flip through basketball cards from 1995 and 1996 you can spot a whole slew of players wearing the shoe. 

The Air Wayup's design is similar to the Air Penny One, with it's lateral "wing" design and large jewel Swoosh.  Unlike the Air Penny's full heel Air Max unit, the Wayup has a smaller visible air unit. Also differing from the Air Penny, it has the "wing" on both sides of each shoe, not just the outside. The shoe's name hints that it may be the sequel to the Air Up (seen here also worn by Lindsay Hunter), another very popular shoe of it's time.

The Air Wayup has never been retroed, even though it's one of the most classic basketball shoes of the mid 90's.  Who would grab a pair if they were to be released?