Footwear Flashback: Nike “Freestyle” Commercial


Was it the lockout? Was it MJ?s retirement? No one knows exactly what it was, but a streetball renaissance hit hoops hard near the turn of the millennium. While AND1 gets due props for being at the forefront of it, Nike?s ?Freestyle? commercial spawned the most artistic representation of the style shift and a pop culture meme. Not only did the campaign reach a mass audience, but it also saw Nike basketball?s youngest athletes and newest models on display. The likes of Vince Carter, Chamique Holdsclaw, and Darius Miles were matched with blacktop ballers like Luis Da Silva in sneakers such as the Nike Shox BB4 and Nike Air Hyperflight. The youthful expression blurred the lines of flair and function, further wondering what could be done with a basketball all while flashing up footwear in the form of heavy doses of bling and patent leather.

Will this lockout cause another counter-culture in basketball? A Euro-influenced game? Soccer styled sneakers? It?s too soon to tell, but today we look back to a time when the game was certainly changing, because you know, basketball never stops.

Who: Jason Williams, Vince Carter, Darius Miles, Chamique Holdsclaw, Rasheed Wallace, Lamar Odom, Paul Pierce, Sheryl Swoopes, Baron Davis, Dawn Staley, George Gervin, Trikz
Kicks: Nike Shox BB4, Nike Air Total Max II, Nike Air Overlook, Nike Air Jet Flight, Nike Air Flightposite, Nike Air Zoom GP III, Air Jordan XVI, Nike Air Force 1 High, Nike Air Hyperflight, Nike Air Swoopes VI
Event: Nike Commercial
When: 2001

Ian Stonebrook lives in Austin, TX where he spends most of his time kicking it with friends and fam, hooping, golfing and going out.

19 COMMENTS

  1. i feel like the Jadakiss / A.I. Reebok spot that sort of jacked this idea MAY have been one of the few times that a copycat piece ended up going a little harder than an original….but this broke the ground and paved the way. #Classic

  2. This and the ReeBok Allen Iverson crossover commercial hands down best commercials of all time, I swear in HS everybody was doing these moves at gym

  3. Lovin’ it. Wish they restocked all of VC’s models. I used to have them in HS. They were so dope :) I catch myself watchin’ old VC videos on youtube… one of the best ballers ever, Vinsanity!

  4. 2001 back when VC played for the raptors. this commercial and the nike shox commercials with the glove are the greatest

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