The 1980’s style of basketball was often a physical slugfest predicated on defense and tenacity. History has favored the ‘Bad Boys’ of Detroit in terms of notorious defenses but the Boston Celtics of the same era had their own brand of hard nose defense. Boston took on the personality of their star players’ personalties forming a championship caliber team anchored by Larry Bird, Robert Perish and, the focus of this article, Kevin McHale.
Unlike most Hall of Fame players, McHale began his career contributing off the bench. He grew into a beast in the post and made a name for himself as a two way star. His 17 point career average doesn’t do McHale’s legacy any justice. Fans watching at the time know how big he was during the Bird years in Boston. Kevin parlayed his success on the court into a noteworthy partnership with Converse and became one of the many faces of their deep basketball roster.
McHale like Magic, Isiah, and Larry alike helped make the Converse Weapon one a quintessential part of ’80’s footwear. The Weapon easily takes the cake as Converse’s most recognizable footwear model, but the brand was cranking out classics throughout the decade like the Fast Break. Available in both high and low, the Fast Break was the first basketball shoe to feature nylon construction (at the time designers thought of nylon as a material made exclusively for running shoes), allowing for breathability and flexibility unseen on the basketball court. Converse still utilized “conventional” materials like leather to fortify the Fast Break making it a fitting shoe for both guards and forwards.
The Fast Break has retro’ed but never in the way Nike plans on this summer. Like Rasheed Wallace’s Air Force 1, Nike is releasing this Converse model built around the framework of Kevin Mchale’s time in the shoe. The storytelling behind these green beauties focuses around one of the NBA Final’s hardest hits. In Game 4 of the 1984 Finals, McHale close lined the Laker’s Kurt Rambis to the ground resulting in a decent sized scuffle.
*Man, Larry’s a gentleman… FYI, this is what a real sports rivalry looks like.
A turning point in the series resulted from that hit- the Celtics would go on to win the game (in overtime) and the series. Kind of odd Nike would choose to romanticize such an aggressive play, but there’s no denying that it sums up the Celtics “no easy buckets” (name of the shoe too) mindset. Checkout some of these classic pictures of McHale and the Converse Fast Break. Do you plan on copping the retro on May 17th? Tell us in the comments section below!