This Magic Moment.
5/7/1995, a date which will live in infamy in the hearts, minds, and soles of Jordan and Chicago Bulls fans. Welcome to this special edition of Nice Kicks’ Throwback Thursday.
Today, we take a trip down memory lane to the O-Rena, the site of Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic.
The 1994-95 NBA season for the city of Orlando truly was magical. The Magic set a team-record 57 wins, clinched home court throughout the playoffs, and won their first playoff series, a matchup against the Boston Celtics.
They were a fully loaded team led by a duo of young, talented stars in Penny and Shaq, surrounded by a strong supporting cast led by veteran forward, Horace Grant, and up and coming shooting guard, Nick Anderson.
Originally from Chicago and member of Illinois’ Fighting Illini men’s basketball team, Nick grew up idolizing Jordan. Now, he would finally get his chance to challenge his idol in the playoffs, on the biggest of stages.
On this night, a classic playoff magic moment occurred that took the city of Orlando and the NBA world by storm. The Magic held a one-point lead with 15 seconds left in the 4th quarter. Coming out of a timeout, Jordan brought the ball upcourt, closely guarded by Anderson. MJ dribbled with one hand, then switched hands in order to lose his defender. As Jordan crossed half-court, he briefly lost sight of Anderson, who came in from behind and made what will forever be known as The Steal, poking the ball away from Jordan leading to a Penny assist off a Horace Grant dunk, sealing the Game 1 win.
The sneakers worn by Anderson during this defining career moment was the 1995 Air Jordan 10 PE in the white/black-royal-metallic silver colorway, casually referred to as the “Orlando” Air Jordan 10.
Featuring a full grain leather upper, full-length phylon midsole, and an encapsulated full-length air sole unit, the Orlando 10 was part of the City Series, limited to the Central Florida area. Nick’s custom PE pair featured his #25 stitched on the lateral aspect of each shoe.
Years later, Anderson’s 10 PEs have reached grail status among hardcore Jordan and PE collectors, and command a premium today. The unfortunate downfall of Anderson’s confidence and career shortly after this defining, memorable moment is well documented and has been over discussed to this point; however, on this Thursday, let’s remember, rejoice, and reminisce about the time when Nick Anderson and his 10s sat atop the basketball world.
Fighting Illini forever.
Lead image via Flight Club