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


  1. skillz says:

    am 26 now diz polly was 15 yrs old wen this commerial came out….

  2. omgnavi says:

    This was way more than a commercial, this was an inspiration…

  3. KicksoverChicks says:

    I recorded this when it first came out, loved this commercial!

  4. Brandonpugh45 says:

    Still one of the best shoe commercials ever done!

  5. yeaboii says:

    Man this commercial brings back memories. I miss me some vintage jason williams on the court.?

  6. kwame adansi says:

    remember this …scary movie 2 did a parody of it the dude in the red used to scare me with his weird moves tho?

  7. TRUskool says:

    I used to love this commercial…this and the reebok inversion commercials were the shit back then

  8. Xmanballa5 says:

    best move is at :58

  9. jason s. says:

    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

  10. mightyfranchise23 says:

    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

  11. Jumpfan23 says:


  12. Jon Burton says:

    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!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Still a helluva lot more exciting than all the new commercials.

  14. Jsamuels91 says:

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

  15. JW1797 says:

    Comin from the UK, it’s good to see some football/soccer moves.

  16. asaa sss says:

    10 years later….still classic!!!

  17. fight8403 says:

    Helluva cast on this… it was good to see Future on there ;)

  18. Liver Lover says:

    look at baron man, 10-11 years later, the man could still play, he just got BIGGER!!!

  19. MOBtainin says:

    What are the silver/black joints the Spanish guy is wearing?