As Sneaker Report wraps up the week of April 15-19 in Performance Sneaker History, some of sports' all-time greats are featured, including Michael Jordan and Joe Montana. Highlighted brands include Nike, Air Jordan, Champion, Mizuno, and New Balance. Check out The 5 Greatest Moments in Performance Sneaker History from This Week.
Date: April 15, 1995
Everyone knows that LeBron James can score, but there's one milestone that has eluded him as a member of the Miami Heat. On April 15, 1995, Heat forward Glen Rice shot 20-27 from the field, seven of which were three-pointers, and finished with 56 points against the Orlando Magic. In the eighteen years that have passed since then, no Miami player has been able to top Rice's feat.
Keeping things all the way '90s, Glen Rice was wearing a pair of high-top Champion brand sneakers. You may remember that Champion was also the NBA's official outfitter during much of the 1990s, so these branded sneakers fit right in on the hardwood. Although the brand has waned in prominence, they still offer a wide selection of apparel and gear at great prices. Check out Champion's collection here.<!--nextpage-->
Date: April 16, 1987
Over the course of NBA history, there have been countless records set. Many of them are matched by a number of players, but there are some achievements which only truly elite players are able to pull off. On April 16, 1987, Michael Jordan joined the latter group, by becoming just the second player to score 3,000 points in a single NBA season. Jordan had 3,041 as the season came to a close. The only other player to pull off this feat is Wilt Chamberlain, who managed to do it on three different occasions.
In 1987, Jordan was laced up in one of his earliest signature models: the Air Jordan II. Although the legacy was just beginning to be written, the Air Jordan 2 featured a number of groundbreaking traits, such as the use of premium Italian leathers for comfort and the lack of lateral Nike branding. The Air Jordan II was worn by Mike for a number of memorable moments, but the defining moment of the AJ2's legacy came at the close of the '86-87 NBA season.<!--nextpage-->
Date: April 17, 2010
The no-hitter is one of the rarest accomplishments in sports, with an average of around two per years. In total, 279 MLB pitchers have thrown no-hitters since 1875. On April 17, 2010 against the Atlanta Baves, Ubaldo Jiménez threw the first no-hitter in Colorado Rockies history. Out of the 31 batters Jiménez stared down, seven struck out and six were walked.
Not only was this the first no-hitter in Rockies history, but it was also the first in New Balance history. Ubaldo wore their baseball spikes for the big game, and the brand later gifted him with a custom pair of 1100 cleats to commemorate the achievement. These weren't available to the public, but Jiménez would go on to wear them throughout the season.<!--nextpage-->
Date: April 18, 1995
On April 18, 1995, one of the greatest football legacies of all time came to a close when quarterback Joe Montana announced his retirement. Nicknamed Joe Cool for his uncanny ability to maintain his composure while under pressure, the Hall of Famer is widely regarded as one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks ever.
His list of accomplishments is simply overwhelming; four Super Bowl rings, three Super Bowl MVPs, eight Pro Bowl selections, six All-Pro selections, and a host of other recognitions. Montana's also pulled off other unique feats, such as being the only player with two 95+ yard TD passes and having the most touchdown passes in the NFL postseason at 45. If that's not enough to convince you, just head over to YouTube and check out some of Joe Cool's highlights.
Although Montana didn't have a game-changing sponsorship or signature model like many of today's top players, he took a liking to Mizuno towards the peak of his career. Montana wore their sneakers during Super Bowls XIX and XXIV, where he would go on to win MVP in both games. These days, Mizuno no longer manufactures football cleats, but they specialize in running, golf, baseball, softball, and volleyball gear. You can shop their latest products here.
Date: April 19, 1992
On April 19, 1992, David Robinson achieved an NBA milestone which illustrates just how dominant he was in every aspect of the game of basketball. He became only the third player in history to be ranked in the league's Top 10 in five stat groups. His 23.2 points per game average, 12.2 rebounds per game, 55.1% field goal percentage, 2.32 steals per game, and 4.49 blocks per game were some of the best in the league at the time. The only other players in history who have been able to cover this much ground were Larry Bird in '85-86 and Cliff Hagan in '59-60.
During this era, the Admiral was wearing one of Nike's most coveted '90s basketball models: the Nike Air Command Force. The extremely high profile model featured a built-in Air Pump for cushion and lockdown. At the time, it was tagged with a $175 box price, which made it one of the highest-priced sneakers on the market. Despite decades of thirst from eager fans, Nike has yet to retro this classic high top in its original form. 2012's Air Force 180 Mid featured similar style cues, but was lacking many of the features that made the Air Command Force special.