No. 10 - Robert Horry, Houston Rockets
Stats: 29 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Game: 2/16/1993 vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Before he became “Big Shot Rob,” Robert Horry was merely a rookie trying to find his way in the NBA. He had an immediate impact on the Rockets, starting every game in which he played and on this night leading his team to a win thanks to his Nike Air Maestros. Finishing as the game's top scorer despite playing with future Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon and several other more heralded stars, Horry used the stability provided by the inner sock liner and leather-lace forefoot support to go 11-of-15 from the field, converting numerous easy chances at the rim.
No. 9 - Toni Kukoc, Chicago Bulls
Stats: 24 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals
Game: 11/26/1993 vs. Dallas Mavericks
The Bulls brought Croatian star Toni Kukoc to Chicago to help diversify their already potent offense, and coming off the bench in his Nike Air Maestros Kukoc provided the Bulls with tremendous scoring right from the start of his NBA career. Playing just their 12th game since Michael Jordan’s retirement and with Scottie Pippen injured, the Bulls were buoyed by the rookie’s ability to bury jumpers from the outside and his fundamentally sound, European-influenced game. The Maestros were key in making this happen, as the durable nubuck paneling on the upper allowed Kukoc to stand up to the pressure of being the defense’s primary target and still be a very effective offensive player.
No. 8 - Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls
Stats: 15 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks
Game: 6/11/1993 vs. Phoenix Suns
Triple-doubles are never easy to get in an NBA game. The same is doubly true when playing in the NBA Finals, but Scottie Pippen managed to pull it off anyway in his Nike Air Maestros. Needing a shoe as versatile as he was, Pippen used the Air-cushioned sole to help him elevate at the rim against the ferocious defense of Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns as he both took shots himself and hauled in numerous rebounds. While his performance would be less ballyhooed than his teammate Michael Jordan’s (who went for 42-12-9 himself), Pippen’s selflessness and stat sheet-filling contributions were a major reason the Bulls won this tough road game and took a 2-0 series lead.
No. 7 - John Stockton, Utah Jazz
Stats: 18 points, 4 rebounds, 15 assists, 1 steal
Game: 2/8/1993 vs. Orlando Magic
The shifty Stockton could do it all for the Jazz, and the diminutive point guard was a perfect match for the Nike Air Maestro. The stability provided by the huarache-based inner sock liner and leather-lace support at the forefoot kept him grounded as he not only facilitated for his teammates, but also got in on the scoring himself. Stockton was able to help three of his teammates score over 20 points in this game against the Magic, navigating tight spaces and distributing the ball with ease thanks to his shoes. He also shot an exceedingly efficient 7-of-11 from the floor, completing a magnificent performance.
No. 6 - Tom Chambers, Phoenix Suns
Stats: 25 points, 11 rebounds, 1 steal
Game: 1/7/1993 vs. Dallas Mavericks
While normally we don’t talk about Chambers in the conversation of the 90s’ most athletic players, the power forward made three All-Star teams as a member of the Suns and was renowned for his ability to finish at the rim and stretch the floor beyond the three point arc. The Nike Air Maestros were a perfect fit, then, due to their Air cushioning and ability to keep Chambers' legs fresh whether he was elevating for a dunk or a long range jumper. He had all facets of his game working on this night, going 9-of-15 coming off the bench for the future Western Conference champions and helping lead a big fourth quarter comeback that would give them a win.
No. 5 - Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls
Stats: 39 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, 9 steals, 1 block
Game: 3/8/1994 vs. Atlanta Hawks
Playing without Michael Jordan was a huge challenge for the Bulls, but in his Nike Air Maestros Scottie Pippen was clearly up to the task. In a tough late season matchup with a very good Hawks team, Pippen absolutely went off to the tune of a ridiculous nine steals to go with a great offensive performance as well. The Maestros made it happen on both ends of the floor, with the huarache-based sock liner and ankle strap on the upper keeping his feet snug as the lanky swingman darted all over the court, terrorizing the Hawks. Pippen’s heroics helped the Bulls convert a narrow five point lead entering the fourth quarter into a massive 21 point blowout win.
No. 4- John Stockton, Western Conference All-Stars
Stats: 9 points, 6 rebounds, 15 assists, 2 steals
Game: 2/21/1993 vs. Eastern Conference All-Stars
Stockton was at his best playing in front of his home fans in Salt Lake City at the 1993 All-Star game, dishing out passes and contributing a few buckets of his own en route to sharing MVP honors with teammate Karl Malone. As they were all season, the Nike Air Maestros were a huge part of the point guard’s game; the durable nubuck paneling on the upper allowed Stockton to absorb punishment from tenaciously defending guards like Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan while still remaining composed with the ball in his hands as he guided the West to victory.
No. 3 - Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls
Stats: 39 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Game: 3/5/1993 vs. San Antonio Spurs
Pippen’s best all-around game of the Bulls’ three-peat season came on this night against the Spurs, with the Nike Air Maestro allowing himto do what he did best: essentially everything. The swingman’s versatility was his calling card, and the huarache cut and interior leather-lace support at the forefoot allowed him the freedom to slash all over the court on both offense and defense as he proved that he didn’t always have to be known as MJ’s sidekick. Playing 51 of a possible 53 minutes with Jordan injured, Pippen single-handedly kept the Bulls in the game all night.
No. 2 - Jason Kidd, California Golden Bears
Stats: 11 points, 14 assists
Game: 3/20/1993 vs. Duke Blue Devils
While the stats may not be eye-popping, the magnitude of Kidd’s contribution in his Nike Air Maestros cannot be measured purely in numbers. His Cal squad was up against a juggernaut in Duke, a team that had won consecutive national titles and was a legitimate contender for their own three-peat. Staying grounded thanks to the snug fit of his Maestros’ inner sock liner and huarache cut, Kidd shattered Duke’s dreams by leading a frantic charge in the final two minutes, converting a three-point play with a minute to go that gave his team the lead for good and sent shockwaves across the college basketball landscape.
No. 1 - Scottie Pippen, Eastern Conference All-Stars
Stats: 29 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, 1 block
Game: 2/13/1994 vs. Western Conference All-Stars
If there was a moment that Scottie Pippen truly arrived as a legitimate NBA star, this was it. Playing in his first All-Star game since Michael Jordan’s retirement, Pippen used his Nike Air Maestros to show that he was not simply a second banana. Finishing in traffic at the rim time and again thanks to the Air cushioning in his sneakers, Pippen took home MVP honors with a dominating performance on both ends of the floor as he helped the East end the West’s two-year winning streak. Of his seven All-Star selections, though, this one was the most important.