SLAM Kicks presents: Basketball Sneakers that Changed the Game

Book edited by Ben Osborne, Contributions by Scoop Jackson, Russ Bengtson, Lang Whitaker, and John Brilliant

It’s been a while since I posted something, and with it already being a year since I started Social Rec. and all it’s pieces, podcast, Youtube channel, social media pages, and this site, I figure let’s keep the momentum and write a piece worth reading.

Around late 2020, I got into a frenzy of purchasing sneaker material content such as this book and a few others. This book isn’t anything new, but it is a piece of culture worth having for any sneaker enthusiast. This book documents exactly what the title states, “Basketball Sneakers that Change the Game” and the unmentioned players that wore them.

The book is a quick read and is filled with beautiful imagery one wishes they could view in person. Scoop, Russ, Lang and John do a great job of providing a history lesson of the sneakers that are mentioned in this book. There are a number of kicks in this book and while I may not agree with all of them as a pair that changed the game, the evidence behind each pair is credible.

Some of the mentioned kicks are the Converse Chuck Taylor, adidas Pro Model, Nike Air Force I, Jordan I,, Reebok The Question, And 1 Tai Chi and several others including a few Jordan’s and other popular Nike kicks. It definitely seems like Nike has dominated the sneaker game for some time, though a few of these brands are making moves.

As previously stated each sneaker talked about in this book has a unique story from where it started, and how it became popular. For example, the adidas Superstar. Probably one of my all-time favorite sneakers growing up, the superstar aka the “shelltoe” was well known for being popular by Run DMC. Before that though, they could be seen on-court by the likes of “Pistol” Pete Maravich, Jerry West, and Kareen Abdul-Jabbar.

Another one of my favorite pairs is the Converse Weapon, marketed and worn by key NBA players in the late 80’s. Players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, and Mark Aguirre to name a few, rocked a pair that matched their team kit colorways. There was even that famous rap video: Watch- Converse Weapon NBA Stars 1986 Commercial.

While there have been plenty of other shoes created with many other types of innovations, these kicks really set the precedent of what hoop shoes are today. If you’re into sneakers and learning more about the history of they, or just interested in learning I would definitely go out and cop this book. I found my copy from Amazon, but you can find it anywhere books are sold.

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