Nike Is Bringing Back the UNLV Nike Dunks

Despite an earlier-than-expected exit from the Mountain West Conference tournament (at the hands of the Fresno State Bulldogs), UNLV faithful have something to celebrate on the footwear front this summer season with the bring back of the UNLV Nike Dunks.

The first time we saw the UNLV Dunks was way back with the debut of the Nike Dunk as part of Nike’s “Be True To Your School” campaign in 1985. Amongst the schools that were part of the campaign, UNLV lived up to its rebellious name as the Running Rebels were the lone school from a small conference that had a very brief history as a basketball powerhouse. Keep in mind that by 1985, Jerry Tarkanian had led his team to the Final Four once, but had not won a national title until five years later.

The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels played a different brand of basketball out west. Prior to the addition of the shot clock, a large percentage of the teams in the Big West played a slow paced game, but Tark had his boys running up and down the court pressing the opponent until they would tire out.

Nike Dunks from 1985 Nike Catalog
Nike Dunks from 1985 Nike Catalog

Originally sketched by designer Peter Moore (designer of the Air Jordan 1) and called the College Color High, the Nike Dunk was an artistic mash-up of different shoes, a common design practice at Nike for ‘80s basketball shoes.

The Dunk’s outsole resembled the same traction design of the Air Jordan 1, which launched just months before. The Dunk’s upper took cues from the Air Jordan 1 and the Nike Terminator; interestingly, the three shoes were all developed by the same design minds. The Dunk drew its eventual name from the shoe last on which it was created the same last used to make the Nike Legend, considered the best fitting basketball last at that time.

Nike Dunk High UNLV (1999)
Nike Dunk High UNLV (1999)

The UNLV Dunks have released since their initial rebellious run in 1985. We saw them pop up in 1999 with the bring back of the Nike Dunk, again in 2005 as an SB when the Nike Dunk celebrated its 20th anniversary, and again in 2011 in a “vintage” form with roughed up leather and an aged outsole. This year’s bring back will mark the first time since 1999 that we will see the Be True To Your School Dunks in original and clean OG form. The UNLV Dunks are set to release on May 14, 2016 for $120. Stay tuned to Nice Kicks for updates on this release and the rest of the Be True To Your School pack.

Nike Dunk High “UNLV”

Colorway: Soft Grey/University Red
Style #: 850477-001
Price: $120
Release Date: May 14, 2016

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