Kicks on Cards #7 | Sneaker Sighting Grab Bag

Kicks on Cards Goes Grab Bag

Date: Jun 4, 2024
Author: Zack Schlemmer
Length: 777 Words
Reading Time: ~4 Minutes

A new set of Kicks on Cards highlighting current sneaker releases, birthdays, and this writer’s favorite team.

Welcome back to another edition of Kicks on Cards here on Topps Ripped. This time, we hit on a five-pack of on-card sneaker sightings with no one specific theme, instead highlighting cards related to recent/upcoming Air Jordan releases, a former NBA superstar’s birthday, and this writer’s favorite team, the Indiana Pacers, beating their old rival, the New York Knicks in the NBA Playoffs. And yes, the Pacers have since been swept in the Eastern Conference Finals, so the victory over the Knicks isn’t quite as sweet now, but it still gives me an excuse to feature a couple of Pacers cards. OK, enough of my rambling. Let’s get to it.

1998-99 Bowman’s Best #53 Reggie Miller // Nike Air Total Max Uptempo

Here’s Pacers legend Reggie Miller on his ’98 Bowman’s Best card rocking the Nike Air Total Max Uptempo. Although not an official signature model, Miller is the player most closely associated with this big-bubble Air Max basketball shoe from 1997. He was even referenced in the original print ad for the shoe. And in 2009, Nike released a House of Hoops exclusive (remember those days?) colorway of the Total Max Uptempo in Pacers colors, complete with gold pinstripes detailing. It’s too bad we never got an “Air Reggie,” isn’t it?

1997-98 Topps Basketball #12 Travis Best // Nike Air Maestro ‘96

Next up is another Pacer fan favorite of the past, Travis Best, wearing the Nike Air Maestro ‘96, a workhorse basketball shoe that was all over the NBA court in 1996. It was worn by the likes of Gary Payton, John Stockton, Tim Hardaway, and other quick and crafty guards and forwards in the league. Also known as the Air Maestro 3, the shoe was designed by sneaker design legend Aaron Cooper as a takedown of the Air Penny 2. You can get the full story behind the shoe on Cooper’s Instagram page

2000-01 Topps Chrome #16 Refractor Kevin Garnett // Nike Air Garnett 1

Coincidentally, next, we go to another Aaron Cooper design, the Nike Air Garnett 1. I’m adding this one into the mix as a belated birthday shout out to The Big Ticket, who just turned 48 on May 19. Since 1998, the Air Garnett 1 has been a rare and elusive model that has never had a retro release and likely never will. This is unfortunate because it’s an awesome shoe and a favorite Garnett signature model for many Nike Basketball aficionados. You’ll just have to appreciate it on this beautiful Topps Chrome refractor.

1997-98 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice #18 Brian Williams // Air Jordan 12 “Taxi”

On May 25, Jordan Brand dropped the new “Red Taxi” colorway of the Air Jordan 12 Retro. It’s basically the original “Taxi” Air Jordan 12 with an updated red tab detail, so I figured I’d feature a look at the OGs. Yes, it’s a Bulls player, but no, that’s not Michael Jordan wearing a pair. It’s the late Brian Williams, AKA Bison Dele, who was wearing them on court in 1997. In case you’re wondering why a black and white shoe is nicknamed “Taxi,” it’s actually a reference to the small amount of yellow detailing on the heel, carbon fiber midfoot shank, and Jumpman logo at the toe of the outsole. None of the “Taxi” yellow accents happen to be visible on this card, but you can take my word for it, they’re there.

2002-03 Fleer Genuine #23 Michael Jordan // Air Jordan 17 

At the time of publishing this set, Jordan Brand’s next big retro release was the Air Jordan 17 Low “Lightning,” which was scheduled for a May 30 drop. Like the Brian Williams card earlier, I don’t have the exact shoe to feature, but I’m getting as close as I can by going into my bag to pull out Michael Jordan wearing the original Air Jordan 17 in 2002. Known as the “College Blue” colorway, this version of the Air Jordan 17 was on MJ’s feet throughout the 2001-02 NBA season, including when he dropped 51 points at the age of 38. Fun fact: Jordan held the record for the oldest player to score 50+ points until 39-year-old Jamal Crawford also dropped 51 in 2019 in his penultimate NBA game.

OK, that’s it for now. Thanks for tuning in for this edition of Kicks on Cards. I just hope I haven’t lost any readers in New York…

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