Trill… the mixture of ‘true’ and ‘real’ most authentically describes Rasheed Wallace. There’s never been an inauthentic moment during his career; sometimes to a fault but it’s hard to judge an honest man. His talents on the court balanced his emotional outbursts to the tune of four NBA All-Star appearances and one of the sweetest jumpers ever seen on a ‘big man.’ Post-up to face-up, ‘Sheed was a matchup nightmare with his soft touch, high release point and height. In an era bursting with elite talent at the Power Forward position, Wallace held his own against the likes of Garnett, Duncan, Nowitzki and Webber. Each will attest to ‘Sheed’s formidability. Like his contemporaries listed above, Wallace’s dominance on the court lead to a healthy relationship with Nike. Throughout his college and professional careers Nike was the only brand on ‘Sheed’s feet. His claim to sneakerhead fame are the multiple iterations of Air Force 1’s that bare his signature fade-away jumper logo (that he created).
Wallace’s love and devotion to Air Force 1’s goes all the way back to his junior high school days. In a Complex interview with Russ Bengtson (link here) ‘Sheed reminisced on when he first saw the Air Force 1:
“It was summertime and my oldest brother had a pair, white on whites, that he bought off the avenue, back home in Philly, Germantown Avenue. That was where we went get all the fresh kicks at. First time, that was like uhh..’83.”
The Philly native has (mostly, 99%) been rocking Forces ever since. Situationally, it’s all pretty unheard of – professional athletes typically don’t wear footwear 10+ years old (he was drafted by Washington in 1995); but ‘Sheed likes what he likes so he wore various heights of the AF1 throughout his career.
His commitment and the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mind-set lead to Nike simply sticking Wallace’s signature logo on the heel. Since the early 2000’s ‘Sheed’ Air Force 1’s have released in grips of colorways to the public and 2018 is looking to be no different. Nike’s NBA Playoffs collection this year features 16 (17th to be announced later) individual shoes commemorating some of the league’s most iconic moments. Rasheed’s 2004 championship with the Detroit Pistons will be represented with an Air Force 1 High. With the introduction of another fantastic ‘Sheed’ AF1, lets take a look back at some of our favorites from years past.
Nike Air Uptempo ’97
Air Force 1 High, 2001
Simplicity at it’s finest. Black patent leather makes up the bulk of this Blazer themed High. Not much to say here other than these are my favorite.
Air Force 1 Low, 2004
Interestingly enough, these are meant to match the Blazers, but they also match the Hawks and Pistons (all of which Wallace played for during the 2003-2004 season, 1 game with the Hawks). If retro’ed today, these would sell out instantly; consumers are suckers for red patent leather.
Air Force 1 Low, 2006
A prelude to this year’s release, these obviously Pistons Lows are crispier than a potato chip. Nike’s patent leather usage continued onto this pair that was released firmly into ‘Sheed’s tenure with Detroit. These would work just as well on the 4th of July.
AF1 High CMFT, 2013
For the curious out there, CMFT stands for comfort. A few striking details pop on these puppies. First, the giant ‘Sheed’ logos instantly stand out. A cracked, elephant-like print on the toe box and quarter panel add a nice depth of texure with speckling throughout for contrast. Pick your poison on colorway – they’re both killer.
Lunar Force 1 High, 2013
‘Sheed retired for a few seasons after playing with Boston in 2010. He returned with the Knicks and during that short period of time released two colorways of Lunar Forces with a medium sized ‘Sheed’ logo on the heel. Sales weren’t great for the Lunar Force one but these are easily the best of the bunch.
Titled Rude Awakening for the … rude awakening Wallace and the Pistons gave the Shaq/Kobe lead Lakers during the 2004 NBA Finals. Everyone thought Los Angeles would steamroll Detroit, but ‘Sheed don’t play like that and in his first (and only win) Finals appearance he reminded everyone with 26 points and 13 rebounds. His signature “ball don’t lie” quote is featured on one of the two interchangeable ankle straps. The shoe is dressed in a Piston’s friendly, simple, white/blue. They’re scheduled for a limited release on April 26th. Checkout some of the finer details below.