Never, ever, forget that Michael Jordan wouldn’t have won 6 championships without the help of one Scott Pippen. Commonly labeled as Mike’s running mate, Pippen’s game perfectly complimented MJ’s and helped revolutionize the NBA Wing. Scottie was one of the first small forwards that could push tempo, lock down defenders, fishing on the break and hit from mid-range. Weaving a well-rounded offensive skillset into his elite defense elevated Pippen from role-player to All-Star quickly. The Arkansas product also became a marquee Nike athlete, resulting in six shoes bearing his name (with a 14 year gap between the Pippen 5 and 6). Years before the Pippen 1’s release in 1997 he could be found wearing the Air Maestro 1 and 2. Designed by Tracy Teague and originally debuted in the 1992 Olympics – the Maestro became one of Scottie’s favorite pairs because of it’s sock-like inner booty and superior traction. The line’s full name is Air Maestro Flight. In Nike Basketball terms, Flight refers to Air based footwear designed for quick, speedy players. Check out the Maestro in action below!
This card sums up the Sun’s evening against Chicago. Not to mention MJ put up 42 points of his own in the win. Do you see the looks on their faces? It was ‘winning time’ for this dynamic duo.
Scottie can be seen above in action with Starks trying to start -ish, ‘Pip wasn’t having any of that. New York and Chicago battled each other annual; resulting in a lot of bad blood and plenty of Bulls victories at the Knick’s expense.
No MJ Needed
The following season Pippen continued to wear the Maestro II as seen here during the 1994 All-Star Game. Now Jordan-less, ‘Pip lead the Bulls to the playoffs averaging 22 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals per-game. Most thought Pippen couldn’t lead a team on his own but Chicago remained relevant (but not a title true title contender) in the 1.5 seasons without Jordan. The Maestro 2’s strengths of feel, comfort and traction accentuated what Pippen did best – almost everything.
New year, classic shoe
Scottie’s All-Star Maestro II’s and the soon to release Trifecta Maestro II’s. Nike’s story behind the retro focuses on Pippen’s triple-double in Game 2 against the Suns. In the same Finals game, he drained the go-ahead 3 (point shot/ trifecta) to secure victory. Every pair releasing under the Art Of A Champion features ‘The Association’ within the sicklier. Red speaks volumes, so there isn’t much to describe other than the leather quality appears to be above typical Nike quality. Overall, the distinctly ’90’s aesthetic really cements this shoe’s spot as one of Nike basketball’s best non-signature ’90’s designs.
We haven’t spent much time dissecting the awesome product art Nike created for each shoe. Pippen’s image features:
- A Swiss Pippen(Army) Knife symbolizing all the various tools he possessed on-court
- His stat line of 15 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds depicted as a triple scoop of ice cream
- The iconic MJ poster of his arm reach but featuring Pippen shows off his length
- A shield with the Bulls logo rests on a counter, speaking to Scottie’s defensive prowess
- Lastly, three Championship Rings rest beside a tipped cactus because ‘Pip spoiled Phoenix’s home-court advantage with his play (my favorite of the bunch)