Although Scottie Pippen had a solid run of 5 signature sneakers before retiring from the game, he was also chosen by the Swoosh to be the face of shoes like the Nike Air Hype Uptempo. This Uptempo was a more entry-level sneaker than what you would expect one of the greatest players in the game to be wearing. The sneaker originally released in 1997 and is one of those rare gems from the 1990s Nike sneaker line that was worn by a superstar in its original days, and yet, has still never been re-released as a retro.
You might expect more Air cushioning and a higher price point for a sneaker that dons the ‘Uptempo’ namesake. The sneaker originally had a retail price of $84.99 but as you can see from the Eastbay Catalog below, it eventually went on even further discount. This Nike shoe was made of a mix of full-grain leather and synthetic materials and used a similar elastic band setup across the tongue, similar to shoes like Nike Air Max2 CB94 and Nike Air Max CW (Sensation), among many others. For a price point that would have been considered middle-of-the-road at the time, the Air Max cushioning, Jewel Swoosh on the side, and a relatively light-weight (it weighs about the same as the Air Jordan 14), you would think this shoe might have been a little more loved over the years. Not to mention players like Scottie Pippen, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and more, wearing the shoe in the NBA, which is usually the tipping point when it comes to the nostalgia that drives the retro sneaker business.
The shoe was clearly an important shoe for Nike Basketball back then. The proof that there was a decent marketing budget can be seen in the commercial from Footaction, and the print ad for Finish Line, who carried the black version with the icy blue outsole and jewel Swoosh, which would have made teenage me feel some type of way.
Check out the photos of the Nike Air Hype Uptempo below, as well as the vintage commercial for the shoes, which features Chicago Bulls star, Scottie Pippen. If you’re looking for a pair of these Nike basketball shoes to add to your collection, you can sometimes find them here on eBay.